Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Lightweight Experience

A reader pointed me in the direction of the Georgia Tech Crew web site which contains a piece of that program's history recounted in an article titled, "i am not a heavyweight." I like this article for (at least) two reasons. First, I think it tells a story familiar to many lightweights - competing for seats with, and racing against, heavyweights. The way lightweight boats and rowers are handled says a lot about the philosophy and priorities of a program, and leads to a set of "truthteller" questions that I'll talk about in my next post.

Secondly, though, it conveys a mindset that is found in championship lightweight boats, but is missing in all too many others. A champion lightweight doesn't use her size as an excuse. Girls who row only as lightweights early in their career, tend to count close finishes against heavyweight boats as victories. Lightweights who also rowed as heavyweights only count winning as a victory. That girl may suspect, deep down, that all things equal a boat of heavyweights may beat her, but she needs to see it happen before she'll believe it. And then she works to prove that result a fluke. Sort of reminds you of that Nietzsche quote...

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