Monday, 24 November 2008

Am I a True Boatie?

I experienced my first race as a cox on Saturday. It was the Nephthys Regatta on the Isis. I was in the cockpit for a women's novice crew and, quite stunningly, we made it through four races against various other Colleges to reach the finals (only to start a mexican wave of crab catching and lose by half a boat length).

The races themselves were pretty thrilling, and the outcome was clearly positive for the College boatie comunity. It was a lovely, bright day on the river and a really nice way to spend time with some new friends I have made.

But, (and I bet you knew that was coming), not gonna lie, I am still unsure of my status as novice cox. Do I want to hand my identity over to the boathouse? Subject myself to hierarchy, hugs and hand gestures?

Plus, it can be a pretty angry sport, the old rowing. In fact, I found the rage of the marshals the most challenging part of the day. Having been waiting politely out of the way, and now well and truly past scheduled start time and with the chill setting in, they would suddenly megaphone things like "[College] cox spin now or you'll be disqualified!" "You have to move now!" as though somehow you had been insolent and incompetent. They would then repeat these commands over and over until you were so flustered that you managed to get yourself sucked into a current of death (for instance) and instant disqualification seemed merciful and even fair.

There are more races this week. I think if I could be airlifted or otherwise transported to the start of the race, and thus by-pass all the nonsense involved in getting the boat out of the boathouse and to the start line, I would be perfectly happy to be a boatie for a while.

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