Rowing Chronicles: SA Champs Day 1

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The Sun was just thinking about getting out of bed. He was lying there pondering the peculiarities of people who row.

He wondered vaguely, as one does, in that time between sleep and awake, why on earth these people refused to acknowledge the natural ebb and flow of day and night.

Clearly, they should still be tucked up in bed, waiting for an alarm to go off, only to be silenced 3 or 4 times.

Yet, at 4am, all over the city, parents were gulping coffee, blearily trying to make hearty breakfasts, herd children to cars and make futile attempts to slather them in sunscreen.

Rowing turns normal people into extraordinary ones on a good day and just crazy people on most days. On the weekend of the SASRU South African Championships that is amplified.

Other parents have children who do sport.

They can go off to a match or event, pop out to do some shopping and maybe fit in a manicure.

Rowing parents can’t do that.

Largely, because we schlep far far away from urban living and then spend 8 hours waiting around for 6 minutes of intense action.

We have that 1000-yard stare you find in old war photos – a result of ‘hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror’.

We live for that adrenaline rush – on edge, fiercely competitive, even more protective and horrible torn between wanting to see our offspring go into the finals and that end-of-season longing to just go home and sleep.

Well, the season is almost done and day 1 of the SA Champs is over – and every rowing parent (and their children) are making that final push before floudnerig around trying to figure out what normal people do on weekends.


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I write because I have to. It is a compulsion. I do it to vent, to laugh and to remember. I blog because it has been so long since I had to write with a pen that my hand would go into cramp if I tried to write a journal.

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