Showing posts from June, 2018

American Club Rowing Experience, Part 10: The Boys in the Boat

It's go time (Photo: Hannah Wagner) Being in the right place at the right time doesn't feel so good when it's only because someone else was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's a circuitous way of saying that your author, the 'super-sub,' is now about to cross the ocean. Not as a spectator, but as a replacement rowing in the big show. The short version is that Spencer blew his back out; Spencer, our five-seat, an Alexandria, Virginia native and TC Williams grad, a former Naval Academy oarsman, one of the first guys to come visit my wife and I after we brought our baby home, isn't going to Henley—and I am. Actually, that's the long version. The short version is that life's not fair sometimes, and I am benefiting from the misfortune of one of my closest friends and one of the best teammates I've ever had. No pressure though. But here's the thing: several weeks ago, during selection, I could have easily murdered Spencer with

American Club Rowing Experience, Part 9: The Schuylkill Navy Regatta

At home with Potomac Boat Club (Photo: PBC/Flickr ) I still have nightmares about the East Park Canoe House. Just past the Strawberry Mansion bridge over the Schuylkill River race course, the Spanish Mission-style building, completed in 1914, is where you typically park and launch from at the smaller Philadelphia regattas, like Saturday's Schuylkill Navy Regatta . The end of its first century was rough. In the early '00s, the bathroom stalls were covered in layers of graffiti so deep they provided a geological record, and broken glass in your bare feet was the best case scenario for traipsing around the surrounding area. It was a Pixar movie hell-scape, so comically vile and so casually menacing that surely delirious lightweights have hallucinated it growing a mouth and red eyes and yelling about the Mummers Parade (probably). The Temple rowing family deserves all the credit they received and more for restoring that place, credit I planned to give them in a speech I

The Gladstone Mentality: The Legendary Rowing Coach on Leading Yale to a Second Straight IRA Championship, in His Own Words

Yale on the podium at the 2018 IRA Regatta (Photo © Joel Furtek) He's the winningest coach at the IRA Regatta in the modern era. He's coached multiple world champions and Olympic medalists. And, Steve Gladstone may be the only coach—in any sport—to win national championships with three different schools (four, if you include the 'de facto' titles he won with the Harvard Lightweights across four straight undefeated seasons). Here, he looks back on the 2018 season, how he approaches his work, and what drives him every day. Bryan Kitch: It seems like it has just been historic event after historic event. I'm just curious about the way you felt going into this season, the momentum you felt you had in the program, and maybe how your athletes maintained a hunger despite having proved a lot last year—how did they maintain that edge and want to come back for more? Steve Gladstone: Well, you asked a couple of questions—maybe two or three questions [laughs], but I&

American Club Rowing Experience, Part 8: The Role of the Super-Sub

PBC launching at Henley Royal Regatta (Photo: Penelope Wrenn-Jungbluth) Ah, the role of the "super-sub." Since it's more of a footnote to the Sydney win that didn't happen, the men's eight at the world championships in 1999 doesn't get discussed nearly as often as it should—on this side of the pond, at least. The video is riveting (watch it below), and the tensions builds perfectly in the USA-GBR duel. That lay-it-all-on-the-line move we see from the GB eight at 1,000m (and would see at roughly the same spot at the 2012 Olympics) is just great stuff, and of course a portent of what they would be capable of in Sydney the following year. But the hero of that race is Tim Foster . British English has a rule that no title is silly if it's alliterative, so there he is, in seven seat; the Capital-S Super Capital-S Sub . He'll have his day defeating the Italians in the men's four the following year, and while the eight doesn't quite carry the

American Club Rowing Experience, Part 7: What's Masters Rowing Really About, Anyway?

Crushing the erg with PBC (Photo: Hannah Wagner Photography ) My first time racing after college was a blowout. We got up at the start and just walked away, a reasonably solid four that had been moving well together and didn’t see much in the competition to worry about. After 1,000 meters, it was over. But like, actually over. The race was only 1,000 meters long. The whole "masters" thing is weird. In practice, "masters" often means the above—a course of 1,000m. I have no idea how you could squeeze in 7,000 events at Masters Nationals (personal estimate) if they were the full 2,000m long; a shorter distance means you can run more races. More races means more racers, and more racers means more rowing. Great! We all know there's a self-congratulatory, breathy "rowing is the hardest sport" (see here and here ) mantra lots of folks in the sport love to celebrate—never mind the fact that in the NHL they play over 80 games per year, MLB over 160