Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Crossing the Buoy Line

On Fight in the Dog, I do my best to stay totally on topic. This blog began with lightweight women's rowing, it continues with lightweight women's rowing, and when it ends (yes, there is a predetermined end date) the last words written will be about lightweight women's rowing. In some ways, I'm the prototypical blogger - I use this blog to offer my opinions, while trying my best to give you an opportunity to offer yours as well. In other ways, though, I'm the antithesis of a blogger - I never write about myself or about blogging, mostly because FITD isn't about me or about blogging, it's about you (and both of the other subjects are pretty boring). Nonetheless, I follow the happenings in the "blogosphere" fairly closely. I watched the meteoric rise of Twitter (and briefly considered using it for race results) and subsequent backlash. I listened to bloggers pontificate about the Kathy Sierra mess (I have a code of ethics for you - your parents). I watched with amusement as the silly "Z List" and "Five things you didn't know about me" memes circulated. They're all pretty much irrelevant to me because of my focus.

A few days ago, however, a reader, Susan Ito, nominated me for a Thinking Bloggers Award, and said some very nice things about FITD in the process (and made me self conscious about my writing!). This was truly above and beyond the call of duty.

The point of these things is to pass them along, something I would normally ignore, but because I felt that Susan's mention of FITD was a bit more than a gratuitous listing I thought I would use it to write a post mentioning some blogs that might interest you. Because I haven't found too many blogs covering lightweight women's rowing (well, OK, any), I have to stray a bit from my focus and look at all of rowing. Unfortunately I haven't found many blogs covering the broader world of rowing either, although some new ones have recently sprung up. Because of this dearth of rowing blogs, I'll be miserly with the award, but mention some of the newer blogs as well as some that mix rowing with other things.

If it's thought provoking you want, I have to nominate Alan Thomas's Rowing Science blog. Alan's been missing in action lately, but he usually comes back with a flurry. He rarely posts something that you don't think you need to read.

Despite the fact the Rowing News sometimes seems to be lightweight women's nemesis, they host Kip McDaniel's excellent blog. The writing is as good as the insights. In his latest post, on The Boat Race, he validates my criticism of "rowing gymnasts" when he says, "Throughout these five minutes however, we were also calm. Looking at the video afterwards, I was impressed by how relaxed we looked compared to Oxford. Whereas every stroke showed on their tense faces, we showed no emotion at all. We look cold and calculated."

Longtime supporters of FITD are Coach Jay and "Emily, the long-suffering coach's wife," who blog at Launch Exhaust. Coach Jay coaches a high school crew and, although he occasionally writes on non-rowing topics, he frequently has thought provoking posts on coaching, rowing, and training.

"TheOarsman" at First Light is also a FITD reader. Unfortunately TheOarsman, a sometimes lightweight, is injured and his posts can be a bit depressing right now. On the other hand, he should make you happy to be healthy and able to spend hours a day sitting on your butt and going backwards.

Any list of rowing blogs has to mention Xeno Muller's blog, Indoor Rowing. Xeno (also a FITD reader) a former Olympic gold and silver medalist in the 1x, blogs in support of his businesses, Iron Oarsman (check out the video) and his RowPerfect distributorship, but often has excellent posts on training, racing, and rowing.

Rebecca Caroe, a RowPerfect dealer in the UK, mostly blogs about business (ugh) but also mixes in some rowing.

Finally, I need to mention two new blogs, both of whom are written by FITD readers. The first is Sculler's Deck by Scott Wisniewski, a former college rower, now sculling at Undine in Philadelphia. Scott plans to cover the entire spectrum of rowing, from junior to elite and from training to rigging.

The second new blog, as many of you know, is College Rowing, written by Mahalo. As the title suggests, the blog will cover all categories and levels of college rowing. Mahalo frequently comments on FITD and will obviously have more to say at College Rowing.

Finally, not a rowing blog, but a rowing post, is this piece from S. L. Kim on Printculture. Although I ultimately disagree with its premise, I like it because it nicely describes the intellectual sacrifices of a college rower and a professor's perspective of what the athlete misses. Every high school rower who wants to row in college should read this. After you've read it though, let me tell you where I disagree. I think Kim's underlying premise is that time spent rowing is time lost to education. Rowing is education. Pick any college rower and ask her if time spent rowing was wasted. To a woman, she'll say that the sport was an integral part of her education. Many will say they learned more on the river and on crew road trips than in the classroom. We all make trade-offs. Would we wonder the same thing about a violinist? If her time spent practicing was time better spent in the classroom or lecture hall? The trap for athletes is being too lazy to make time for lectures and seminars. Finding it easier to hang out with teammates than to make non-rowing friends. College is a time to expand your horizons, to learn new things, to learn to think, and to question. Rowing is part of that, but it's not the only part.

Sorry, I'm not sure why I got on that soapbox! If anyone knows of any other rowing blogs, post them in the comments and let us all in on the fun.


XENO said...

Hello "Fighting DOG"

Thank you for mentioning me.

We are having a great time. I redesigned the website with Iweb and it looks more professional than with Microsof Frontpage.

Keep up the good work with your blog. We are slowly informing non rowers of the health benefits this great sport carries with it.

All the best,


Jeff said...

If you like training logs you might like Josh Rows or Alpha Rower.

Shameless plug, ErgScores.com is working on an "erg blogging" feature inspired by David Churbuck which will hopefully simplify blogging about your training.

Susan said...

Hey, I'm glad you stepped up and accepted your award. :-)

And thanks for all the great links- they look really helpful and interesting.

Scott Wisniewski said...

Fight in the Dog,

Thanks again for mentioning us, we love your posts, keep up the good work.


Rebecca Caroe said...

Dear JW

Thanks so much for the plug for my blog.... sorry it has taken me so long to reply to this.

BUT I clearly didn't publicise this widely enough. I split my blog into rowing and work.
Rowing blog URL is

you have retained my work only blog link.

Best wishes and keep on blogging!


JW Burk said...

Thanks Rebecca, I changed the link.

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