Thursday, November 30, 2006

Is There a List?

A recent article in the Louisville Cardinal features Louisville rower Beth Daunhauer. It's a typical profile and Daunhauer comes off as a smart, talented rower. What's interesting, however, is this sentence in the article's first paragraph:

[S]he is ranked in the top three in the U.S. for lightweight college rowers and she is the number one under 23 rower in the country.

Someone is keeping a list of top US collegiate lightweight rowers? And a list of top U23 rowers? This is some interesting news! I wonder how we can get a look at that list? I suspect, of course, that this is just an example of another student newspaper writer who doesn't quite understand the sport, unknowingly twisting something they were told in the course of researching their story. Nonetheless, it does make you wonder just a little bit if there really is a list out there...

This paragraph unknowingly provides another commentary on our sport. As best I can tell, the "number three ranking" may have come about because Daunhauer finished third among college lightweights at last year's CRASH-Bs (although second was a Canadian). Later that year, in the summer, Daunhauer went to USRowing Nationals and finished second in the intermediate lightweight 2x and second in the elite lightweight 4x. Here is the interesting point - if I'm correct, this paragraph highlights Daunhauer's erg finish and never mentions her nationals rowing finish. Isn't her sport rowing? Granted she also ergs, but that is simply a means to an end, the end being rowing fast. Americans have a very difficult time with true team sports. We can't handle the lack of individual statistics so we grasp for anything available. Other than the single, though, this is a team sport and phrases such as "Sally led the boat to victory" are usually completely out of place.

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Anonymous said...

Like the blog, but give the poor kid a break. You complain about lack of publicity and then when there is a nice article about a lightweight you get mad because you know more than the kid at UL writing a press release. The girl who wrote the article is trying to put a face to rowing to their campus instead of just listing names of the V8 which no one would read or remember.

JW Burk said...

I didn't mean to criticize the writer and I agree with your comment about putting a "face to rowing." I did mean to criticize whoever on the team (coach, perhaps?) thought the erg results were more noteworthy than the water results and emphasized that to the writer..