Friday, March 30, 2007
It is a Saturday morning and the sun is almost over the tree tops. The coxswain gives the command to lower the boat into the water. The 60 foot boat is lowered carefully down in the water. Port side rowers run up the hill to collect the oars. Once the rowers are seated and strapped into their seat we walk the boat down the dock. Bow four is told to row to get clear from other boats. We slowly move out into the wall of fog covering the water. Moments later the sun reaches the water, lifting the fog. It is calm and quiet, not one sound is heard over the clicking and splashing of our oars. The water is just like glass; it is perfect. We row down to the dam, just a couple of miles away. As we get closer you can hear the crashing of the water falling over the dam: a faint, low, thundering sound. We turn around as our coxswain explains the morning work out. As she speaks into the microphone she breaks up into static then comes through. The speakers never really worked that great even from the beginning. We are told to do a race piece to the bridge, about two miles away. We all moan not really wanting to do the piece, but we get ready to put our best into it. The wheels on our seats squeak as we roll up to starting positions. It’s silent, waiting for the commands. “Attention”! All of our oars snap upright in sync waiting for the big “Go” command. It seems like hours of waiting and anticipating for the command. The adrenalin is pumping through your body, but you are focused to hear instructions. “Go”! The loud splash of our oars can be heard from shore as we do the first stroke. We roll up for the next stroke as fast as we can. Once the first ten strokes are over, we slow our pace down to conserve energy. This is the start of the longest seven minuets of your life.