Video of the Week: “Knuckleheads”

People in the comments here were saying the announcer was way too harsh on this crew – they are novices after all. Um, no. No, no, no. Being a novice does not exclude you from being shit on for making straight up illogical decisions. Novice or not, you should know via common sense to NOT go onto the race course before a race has passed you. Why? Because these guys are barreling down the course and novices move at the rate of an elderly turtle.

Related: Part of coxswain selections are how safe you are and if you can keep the boat safe in different situations. How would coaches determine your safety-ness?

If you can see three crews coming at you and/or you can hear people yelling “MOVE OFF THE COURSE”, get your ass in gear and move. I understand the “deer in the headlights” moment because I’ve been there but you’ve got to get over it and get out of the way. Not only are you in a position to impact someone else’s race but you could cause a serious collision that could result in very serious injuries.

So, in a situation like this what should you do?

For starters, on’t put yourself in a situation like this. Ever.

Know the traffic pattern before you launch. When in doubt draw it out on a piece of paper and take it in the boat with you. Also make sure you are actually supposed to cross the course at any given point. If you are there will likely be an official waiting in a launch to tell you when it’s safe to do so.

If a race is coming down the course, stop and wait for them to pass you before crossing to the other side. NEVER cross in front of a race. If the race is at the starting line and hasn’t gone off yet, do. not. go. unless a race official has specifically told you to cross. They’ll usually say something like “Belmont Hill, you’re clear to cross. Row it over all eight.” If something like this is necessary the officials will have told you about it in the coaches and coxswains meeting. If they didn’t bring it up, don’t do it.

Assuming you ignore everything I just said and you find yourself in the middle of the course with some heavyweight men’s 8s coming straight toward you, do. not. stop. rowing. Also do not row by pairs if you’re in a four or 4s if you’re in an eight. Row by all four or all eight and get out of the way. Row as far over as you can get to ensure that you are completely off the course. If for some reason you need to turn the boat, turn with everyone on whatever side you have rowing, not just one or two people. The goal is to move quickly.

Give clear, concise, and direct instructions. This is not the time to lose your head and be stammering, stuttering, and fumbling with your words.

Rowers: shut UP. You talking, yelling, etc. does not help and only makes things worse. I hesitate to say what to do if your coxswain isn’t giving you instructions because I don’t want to be responsible for widespread mutinies against coxswains but I can tell you that you should not be doing what the other three rowers are doing from 1:50-1:57 (i.e. just sitting there like it’s a totally normal day at practice and letting one person turn the entire damn boat).

When someone tells you to row, don’t all just start rowing whenever the hell you want. You don’t do that any other time so why would you do it now? If anything, in situations like this is when you need to be the most coordinated in order to get out of there quickly and safely. There most likely isn’t going to be time for the coxswain to say “sit ready, ready, row” so just go with your stroke. Follow them from the beginning. Stroke seats everywhere, do not start rowing from half slide or whatever random position you’re sitting in. Have this worked out with your crew ahead of time that you’ll all start at the catch or the finish, whichever one you choose if you need to abruptly start rowing, that way everyone starts together and you don’t look ridiculous like this crew does.

Remain calm. You can freak out and be pissed at each other when you get back on land.

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