As you may have worked out by now, I don't do racing.
Well, very occasionally
. But mainly I row just for fun. The competitive spirit is a mystery to me, but I think I have seen a little bit into the mind of the elite oarsperson in Rowing: The Rules
The rules are by Anna Railton, a member of the Cambridge women's crew that beat Oxford in the Women's Boat Race at Henley over the weekend.
There is a lot of stuff about rowing technology like ergos and things called a 'one-piece' of which I know nothing, but the central difference between rowing to win and rowing for pleasure is encapsulated in
Rule 10: There is only one remedy for pain. Make your opposition hurt more.
This is nonsense.
I don't pretend that rowing for pleasure doesn't involve pain. I have the callouses to prove it, and a current case of skiffer's arse with which I will not bore you. But the cure for pain is BEER and lots of it. Obviously.
Apart from the disturbing desire to inflict pain on the opposition (and by opposition, Anna includes anyone occupying the ergo next to hers) there is actually a lot in common between the addicted competitor and the addicted pleasure rower. We go out in all weathers
, though she doesn't approve of going out through the ice
which she seeks to justify by the damage it could do to a delicate shell. Come on - doesn't she have a garden full of boats for every eventuality? I mean.
Anna is also very wrong about sunglasses, which she says (Rule 23) should be worn in all weathers despite the fact that it is very rude to hide behind them when you are talking to someone, they make you look like a chav and they give you skin cancer.
Her blog, Something About Rowing...?
is acerbic, funny and insightful, and her stick-woman drawings are a hoot. The language is filthy, but there is something highly arousing about an intelligent, witty, attractive and potty-mouthed woman as the proposals of marriage in the comments attest.