Sunday, April 19, 2009

Memory Row

Many years ago I rowed for Orange Coast College's crew team. My "promising" career as an oarsman was cut short by a knee injury, but the memories still linger.

Yesterday I took Lukas to watch my old team compete in their 44th invitational regatta. Things have changed a little since I last rowed. All the boats and oars are made of carbon fiber, and some of the teams dress in singlets that would make me blush. For the spectators, the event was also little less formal and more California casual than I remember. Lukas enjoyed watching the crews carry their boats to the water, and of coarse he liked to see them wash down their boats (he loves playing with the hose).

While looking over the boats a familiar name caught my eye, Blitzachter! This incarnation was not the beautiful wood boat that the school bought from the German Olympic team (or so the story goes), but a sleek carbon fiber shell. I remember rowing in the original Blitzachter one sunny morning. I was in seat number one, which is in the bow (I rowed in seats seven or one in the number one freshman boat). The coach set up a race between the number two varsity boat and the one and two freshman boats. We were three or four minutes into our race when our coxwain yelled out "Stop", which was immediatley followed by the sound of crunching wood. The boat came to a shuddering stop with my back up against a moving fishing boat. A fender brushed up against my head and the much bigger boat took a turn and stopped. I looked behind me and 15' of Blitzachter's bow was gone. The boat was shattered right up to my seat. My crewmates were trying to see what happened but because of the seating arrangements, one behind another, only the last two or three could see. We untied our shoes and got in the water as the boat sank up to the gunals. I have a little piece of wood to remind me of that boat and that day.

My school did well on Saturday, and it would be nice to see if Lukas takes after his father and grandfather (Navy 46) and takes up crew when he gets older.


Cindy said...

I love that you got to share this with Lukas! And I love the pic of him in front of the new version of the old boat you crashed...or were in when it crashed. ;)

Brandi said...

Gorgeous pictures! What a day you had with Lukas. I'm sure you both will remember it for years.

Michelle said...

Wow, what a story that is!

Tarah said...

I love the last picture, it looks like you had a memorable day.