Friday, October 31, 2008


I was a coxswain at uni. I coxed all four years. In the end, I loved it and I hated it. Coxing is a thankless job. Steering is difficult, but keeping your crew happy is the hardest bit. What do you say when the boat is constantly off set? Or when you're with a crew who would rather be rowing a coxless boat? Or when you've just been passed by another boat? It's hard. And when I look back I have some very fond memories from junior year (Head of the South, Head of the Occoquan, Dad Vail), but that wasn't most of the time I was on the water. Most of the time, it was a struggle.

I've only coxed a handful of times since I left uni, and they were resoundingly bad. It takes time to develop a rapport with a crew and a coach. So, when my company entered 3 boats in the corporate regatta, I was hesitant. I am a triathlete now, not a cox. And I thought I'd rather row than cox. But really, I only have one day off a week from training, and I like it. I didn't want to lose it, so I declined from participating.

But this week, one of the boats was down a cox, and I was asked to fill in. I agreed because I've not been running anyway, so my training schedule is a bit light. And... it was great!

It was so much fun to be back in the coxswain seat. Particularly with a novice crew. My rowing knowledge came back quickly, and I felt like I knew what to say to help them get better at rowing. And though there were a few terminology issues (they call port side stroke side, and starboard side bow side - I still don't know what they call it when it's bucket rigged), it was smooth sailing. I may have broken my bow seat's spirit by the end, but I think they were all the better for it.

The race is the 23 of November. I'll be in Canberra that weekend, but I'll be with them in spirit.


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