Friday, October 06, 2006

Boat Races, Masters Style

In college, I was on the crew team for both my first and second year. The team was a club not a varsity sport (which it is now, no doubt due to our shenanigans) so we had about a $2100 budget (as opposed to Harvard's 100K+ budget), two 8 shells and one 4 and I think I was probably the shortest starboard 5/7 seat in rowing history. My first year we didn't even have a dock so we would wade into the Erie Canal with this giant, long boat over our heads, stumbling over the rocks and trying to avoid the scary 3 headed fish. Our coaches were seniors. We were successful at regattas if everyone made it to the race and home without getting lost. It was character building. It's a miracle no one drowned.

Since we were a club and entirely student run, we could be a little more relaxed about workouts and training rules. What this meant was that Friday afternoon at 4 pm, we'd meet for a long run (3-5 miles) and about a tenth of a mile into it, we'd suddenly take a turn into a courtyard where there would be a keg and lots of cups. So instead of running, we'd have boat races. It was a sort of bonding time for our boats...all 8 of us would get in a line in our seat order, coxswain at the head, along side the boat we were challenging (standing in the same formation). Another coxswain would call the race like this:


At which point we'd obediently take our full beer cups and hold them above of our heads, resting gently atop our noggins.

The cox would then say, "READY ALL, DRINK!" (as opposed to the usual, "Ready all, ROW!")

Our coxswain would then start by chugging the beer on his own head and once finished, put the cup upside down on his head - to assure that if all the beer wasn't gone, it would dribble down his neck. As soon as the cup was upside down on his head, the next person in the boat could start chugging...right on down the line to seat 1. The first boat to finish all the beers in the line was declared the winner. The winner of what, you ask? Absolutely nothing. We were loaded by dinner time and completely obnoxious in the dining hall.

Yesterday at swim practice, coach broke out the red plastic beer cups and we all kind of looked at each other sideways like, "What? Cocktails at 7 am?" Turns out we had to fill them half full, then rest them on our foreheads while we swam the backstroke. It's not as hard as it sounds but it really truly helps you realize how to keep your head steady while you rotate your body. We looked like synchronized swimming winos...

And all I could think during the whole drill was, "BEERS ON HEADS!!!"

Enjoy the weekend ya'll!


Blogger Barb said...

Very funny! I KNEW there was a reason why I always wanted to try Crew!!! Seems like a great sport... at least the club version!

10:30 PM GMT-5

Blogger Bolder said...

ahhhhh! i was hoping you weren't gonna 'drink and swim'!

8:39 AM GMT-5

Blogger 'Zilla said...

Too funny - You know that could make tri training a lot more fun (well, it's fun already, right right). Imagine a peleton "Beers on Heads." Whew. :-)

I see the countdown has started again! Very nice...

10:25 AM GMT-5


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