Monday, 23 January 2012

Damn. Still not athletically gifted

The rowing adventure continues. I must be improving but sometimes the progress looks very slow. I have had 4 or 5 lessons now.

The critic in me wants to classify me as Completely Crap. The other part of me that knows I shouldn’t be so hard on myself reminds me that several things happen successfully every lesson:
  • I get in and out of the boat without falling in.
  • I move the boat from A to B, if not smoothly, well, I do move it.
  • I mainly stay on the correct side of the river.
  • I keep my oars in the water, mainly.
  • After last Sunday, everyone on the Yarra now knows my name.
I will explain.

Several of us had a lesson. Three more advanced people went on ahead, they were much faster than "Pete" and I. One of the coaches cycled along the path beside the river keeping them company, Sue cycled along the path keeping "Pete" and I company.

And yelling instructions. Through a megaphone. Frequently.

“Stella, straighten your legs before you bend your arms!”

I try to concentrate on this while wondering why I am not going in a straight line. Looking back behind I notice a bridge. Crap, now I  have to avoid the bridge.
Above is one on the bridges I need to negotiate. There are different "rules" about which arch you can pass through according to which side of the river you are on. 

“Stella, go through the first arch of that bridge!” 

I get through the first arch and don't crash into the pylon. Sue telling me to line up my stern with the arch doesn't help because I am not going in a straight line.

“Stella, you are now in the wrong lane!”

I know this and spend a lot of time rowing with just my right oar to correct myself.

“Stella, square your right blade in the water!"

I try, no idea why I can't do this uniformly, as I try to concentrate on my arms and legs and look back behind me so I don't run  into the bank.

“Stella, now I want you to concentrate on straightening your legs first!”

Still trying.

“Stella, you don’t row a boat with your arms!”

Adding to the tension:
“Stella, avoid the rubbish catcher up along there!”

Still not rowing in a straight line.

“Stella, now you’re over-squaring your blade!”

Now I just wanna stop.

“Stella, don’t move your arms until your legs are straight. Doesn’t that feel better?”

Almost home and the river turns a corner.

“Stella, don’t row into the bank!”

Technically I know what I should be doing, just not quite doing it yet. Yes, that would be bending my arms before my legs are fully straight.

A less loud conversation where we chatted from the bank and the boat went like this:

“I think your right wrist if more flexible than your left, so you over-square. That’s special, I don’t know how to teach that.” Sue observed, explaining why I am incapable of rowing in a straight line.

“Fabulous, thanks Sue. Perhaps you can mention how special I am on the megaphone too? I’m just going to wear a name tag next Sunday in case anyone misses who I am.”


  1. LOL. Lovely to read, stranded as I am, with my husband, in Saigon, during Tet. Without passports. Cheers. Fraudster.

  2. Kayaking seems to be bigger here than rowing. Not sure why. Could your "special"ness be related to your hand injury? (Good to see you again!)

  3. Fraudy- just read all your misadventures. :-( Glad I could help.
    NQ- yeah, kayaking involves less skill apparently, you just paddle. That's really what I should be doing but you have to wear a life jacket and all and I thought i'd enjoy the team rowing stuff. . . Nope, specialness doesn't relate as it was the left hand that had the injury and it's all good now. I can do yoga on both hands again. . . I'm just lop sided apparently.

  4. I would be an emotional wreck if someone had been yelling at me through a megaphone. But I was able to laugh and enjoy your adventure. Keep it up. I'll live the rower's life vicariously through you. :D

  5. Ah, "Less Skill." - That explains it! And I didn't realize you were practicing *team* rowing. I was picturing you in a little traditional rowboat!

  6. NQ- actually there hasn't been much "team" rowing. . . I thought I might get right into it and want to do that but no. I've got into the salsa again and I suspect that the rowing might start to take a back seat.

  7. If I had someone yelling at me through a megaphone, I might switch to Salsa too! :)