Here at City Square, we'll do just about anything to get out of the office for a few days. However, sometimes we think we should put better parameters on the "just about anything" criteria. Last week was a case in point.
One of our favorite volunteer activities is serving (along with my spouse) as a USRA Judge/Referee at crew (rowing) events around the country. Last week we were front and center for a three-day competition, the 2005 IRA National (Collegiate) Championship Regatta on the Cooper River in scenic New Jersey. This is an event that draws the top competing collegiate (men's) crews from around the country (Harvard, Princeton, Washington, Stanford, Wisconsin, Navy, Army, Colgate, etc.) to compete in head-to-head sprint racing. (See picture insert of boats leaving the starting platform while I served as Assistant Starter).
Boatings include the 8's (eight crew with coxswain), 4's "with and without," and Pairs (a really scary proposition, in which two rowers with one oar each, looking backward, try to find their way down a 2000 meter course without incident). In the picture below, you can see a side-on view of 8's during a race, taken from the water.
In addition to the men's crews, this event also draws the top women's lightweight crews from around the country.
Now for the "just about anything." This year it was the weather. Crew events are on in anything other than thunderstorms and extreme wind. And this year in New England, we've had an abundance of the latter. Not to be outdone, the weather in New Jersey was unseasonably cold for June (we donned our survival gear once again) and wet. Given our 6:00AM to 6:00PM presence on the racecourse, we all got soaked. Our hotel room at the end of the day looked like the aftermath of a hurricane. We're still drying out equipment that remained aglub (technical nautical term) for most of the regatta.
Is it worth it? Yes. The opportunity to give something back to the sport of rowing (I still compete in singles, and previously rowed bow in a Master's 4) is a big deal. The friendships we've built with others in the J/R corps and with coaches and crews over the years are precious. And frankly, even when it's coming down cats and dogs, any day on the water beats a day in the office.