Monday, May 21, 2007

Lessons Learned

As we prepare for the 2007 IRA, one can't help but think about last year's dam opening that occurred during the championship races. Despite the fact that Rowing News and row2k never admitted that they published false information about the opening, there was one organization that acknowledged the problem and seems resolved to do their best to avoid a repeat - the ECAC, the regatta sponsor. While I still think it odd (and somewhat unethical) that the rowing press never admitted their mistakes in the reporting of the situation (Oh the shame, scooped by an anonymous blogger!), the ECAC had nothing to do with that and admitted the problem from the beginning. I'm pretty sure everyone will know when that dam is open and when it is closed this year.

About a month ago a story appeared in South Jersey's Courier-Post that gave some perspective to what the local authorities wrestle with when deciding when to open the Cooper River dam. This story dealt with local residents' concerns that the dam was kept open for the Knecht Cup, resulting in unnecessary flooding. This situation seems to be the opposite of last year's IRA when the dam was opened to the detriment of the regatta. (Recall that the issue last year, of course, was not that houses should be flooded for the regatta, it was communicating the state of the dam.) This Knecht Cup story leaves unanswered the question of why the dam wasn't opened until Sunday when the regatta ended Saturday afternoon, but it certainly gives you a good idea of the competing interests that must be balanced by the county. Take a look at some of the comments to this story to see just how sensitive an issue rowing on the Cooper is. Remember this when you're there in two weeks and have the urge to park in a no-parking zone or leave your Power Bar wrapper on the ground.

We're all praying for good weather for this year's IRA, but as an outdoor sport contested on nature's racecourses, problems will occur. This year, though, I feel pretty confident that they won't be of the man-made variety.

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