Saturday, May 23, 2009

Watching Anna Row

Today I got to watch Anna rowing as part of the Waynflete School crew. This was my first chance to see her row in a race, as I was in Washington, DC the last time she had a race. Having rowed for several seasons in college, it was fun for me, not only from a parental point of view but also as a former rower, to watch and to be in the midst of the launching of boats (with the lingo and cadences unique to crew!) for six different races, the cheering on of rowers, and the returning of crews to the riverbank. 

I thoroughly enjoyed myself, standing around on the mucky, grassy bank of the Fore River, a tidal river that empties eventually into Portland harbor. In one direction, beyond the finish line, stood a classic white New England church and a modern medical office building; in the other,  just below the starting line, were a highway bridge spanning the river and a depot of oil tanks. Most of us spectators stood about halfway down the 1500 meter course, with mature trees behind us and a steep path up to higher ground.

The setting was pleasantly fresh and green, the weather cool and cloudy. But nothing matched the thrill of seeing Anna's boat row past, neck and neck with a competitor from Yarmouth. It's different watching as a mother!

Angles and perspective can be deceiving in crew (as you know if you have ever watched a rowing competition in TV coverage of the Olymics), but it looked as if Waynflete started to pull ahead as they passed the spectators. These mostly novice rowers had only raced once before this season and had finished next to last. This time, they won, pulling ahead by about a boat length at the finish! A third boat finished far back, having suffered mechanical troubles.

OK, I confess--I got a little choked up and couldn't see through the binoculars for a few seconds. It was a great morning. 

(Photo courtesy of David. Anna is rowing in seat number two, second from the right in photo.)

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