words by Eleanor Brinkhoff
photo by Seattle Parks of Green Lake Crew
As British Rowing enters Phase F, signifying the long-awaited return to crew rowing, a small sense of normality can be felt in boat clubs around the country. Despite the enhanced vigour of protocols surrounding cleanliness and crew rooms, the ability to escape the madness of 2020 on the water far outweighs the minor inconvenience of not having access to the club kettle.
For many of us rowing has always been part escapism, a chance to clear the head and unplug from the hustle of daily life. This opportunity to remove oneself from the constant reminders of the crisis we are in, even for a fraction of time, is a balm to help see through the unknown which is the year that lies ahead.
The months apart makes the prospect of getting back into boats more exciting still, for both coach and crew.
Few of us would be excited by the prospect of a 5am start whilst sleet pounds the windows, and the bed you’ve just vacated affectionately looks back at you. But, when winter training truly takes its toll, we’ll look back to this time of enforced idleness and draw the conclusion that the uncertainty of not knowing when one can simply sit in a boat again is far worse than an hour spent in the cold.
Memories of these lost days will help us dig out those extra layers to make the most of every opportunity to be out on the water.
As with many sports, the cogs only continue to whirr due to the tireless effort of committees often made up solely of volunteers. These individuals have played a significant part in enabling rowing to return in a safe manner for all members. They should be recognised for their work in allowing us to get back to making up for the miles lost during lock-down.
But now let’s enjoy it; relish in the simple pleasure of moving a boat solely through human effort, working for each other to propel ourselves faster; appreciating the blur of riverbanks; back on the water.