This past Saturday I made a surprise guest appearance in DH's eight (eight-man rowing shell, for those who don't know the lingo): They needed a coxswain and I had the time. People, I haven't coxed a race in almost ten years, much less a head race, which is 5000 meters and requires good steering. I had a problem with the latter for a while in college; partly why I stopped.
Well, we got there at 9:30, thank goodness, because our race went off at 2:00 and God forbid we not get there four hours before we had to even think about it. Typical race procedure. The weather held and my not-as-girlish hips fit into the narrow little coxswain seat, my stroke (the guy closest to me who sets the pace) gave me some advice on when to do ten-stroke power pieces, and we were off. I felt a lot better about my competition when I saw their cox hang their boat up on a bridge abutment on the way to the starting line. All in all, considering it was a boat with average age of about 53 (if that low) versus slightly novice college kids, experience trumped over youth and we kicked their asses! Hooray! Plus I remembered how to steer. However, I think the best part for my rowers came when another crew immediately took their boat to race in, meaning they didn't have to carry the thing anywhere.
Our prizes? Mugs with "Head of the Niagara" on them. I actually find that much more useful than a medal which sits in a drawer.