Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lightweight 1x Trial

There's a great story on row2k about the last race of the lightweight 1x trial which concluded last Saturday. It's just so, well, "lightweight." Early morning weigh-in followed by a launch from an empty dock. Almost no one was there except the two rowers and the officials. The trials for the other boat classes had already concluded as the lightweight 1x went to three races. "...in the single on a morning like this, after the starter calls 'Attention, go,' the competitors will row side by side for over a mile without hearing another human voice."

At the end of this race one athlete was on the national team and the other went home. They wished each other good luck at the start and shook hands over the gunwhales at the finish. Unlike so many crews these days who stand in boats, hold up oars, and jump into the water or each other's arms, these two lightweight women won and lost with dignity. They showed respect for each other and for the sport. I have yet to see a winning women's lightweight crew make fools of themselves when they win and I hope I never do. Let others hug and salute themselves and act like they've never won before, while lightweight women win with class. That is what rowing is all about.


Anonymous said...

Not everyone can win, and certainly not everyone can win all the time. With that said why is it not appropriate to congratulate someone who has suffered through training and a race with you after a victory? Because in this sport, esp. in lightweight racing, you don't know when your next victory will be. Not taking anything away from either woman in their race though.

JW Burk said...

My point is that it's a matter of degree. Spontaneous is good, planned ahead of time is bad. Society seems to be against me on this one, though. We've all become accustomed to watching professional athletes act like fools and as a result those parts of society that idolize professional athletes have come to believe that behavior is appropriate. I don't, but I also realize it's a losing battle. Congratulating your teammates is always appropriate, acting like it's the first and last race you'll ever win isn't.