Hope springs eternal and so I filed my application to scull in this fall’s Head of the Charles Regatta. Having turned 50 in May, this would be my first year in the elder statesman category of Grand Master, but first i need to have my application accepted as it is a tough ticket to get into the Head unless one competes and finishes within 5% of the winning sculler’s time. My last time racing the HOCR was in 2003 — my first time as a sculler — and I performed horribly, coming in third from last with a terrible time and twenty seconds in penalties. The low light of that October morning was hitting the Weeks Footbridge in front of the Harvard Business School and being urged to capsize by drunken frat boys there for the WASP equivalent of NASCAR crashes.
Whatever, I rowed my first Head of the Charles in the early 70s when I was rowing in prep school, kept doing it through college, and a couple of other times in my college alumni boat. I’ve done the Head when no one but a couple hundred rowers were participating, and I’ve done it as a parent watching my daughter row it for my alma mater.
But, application acceptance or not, I did file my forms for the Green Mountain Head, which according to my good friend Charlie Clapp (silver medal, US Men’s 8, 1984), is the best of the fall regattas because it is so darn pretty, has no spectators, and the prizes are a bag of apples, a block of Vermont cheddar, or a jug of maple syrup. I’ve rowed only one GMH and thought it a most wonderful experience.
So — all this time in the garage gym working off the excess poundage now has an immediate goal. Don’t hit the Week’s Footbridge and try to do better than 2003.