row2k Features
Ode to the River
December 10, 2000
Greg Doyle

Greg Doyle's far-from-charitable, scathing, but nonetheless often dead-on (and funny) skewering of some local Philadelphia color.
It is the time of year where punk/twit sweepers come out to the river with their shiny fresh new spandex emblazoned with their school colors.

Side by side they stand on race day in matching uniforms looking like so many inbred puppies. Rowing in boats the Old Men Sculler Alumni bought for them.

Why, young punk/twit sweepers, must you clog the launching and landing docks, sloppily carrying your boat like drunken pallbearers?

"Jessica, quick, can you get our shoes?? OK, Monica, great race!!!"

And we endure your interminable Punky Brewster/Blossom chitchat with grim faces. This is why Old Men Scullers get ulcers.

On practice days, the dick in the coaching launch barrels past us and wakes us out to catch up with your crew, limping up the river so pathetically, even the dolts on the shore don't bother to yell their land-lubbing taunt "Stroke, stroke, stroke" at you. They can tell it wouldn't matter.

And after Coach Clueless jets one hundred yards up to you, we pass you anyway doing steady state. This embarrasses your coach, even though he doesn't let on. In the pit of his stomach, he knows you blow chunks. And to add insult to his injury, one of you geniuses setting up the boat catches a crab while we're looking at you. The smiles on our faces turn your coach red-faced and inside....he's crying.

And then Assistant Coach Tweedledumber comes out in his launch. He's got less horsepower of course (they all sit around back at the boathouse and compare horsepower size...) and it's strapped to the junker launch that steers badly. On top of that, one of you punk/twits put in the wrong fuel mixture, so it sounds like a sputtering six-year-old making race-car sounds in the 25-cent ride outside the town drug store.

Well, he barrels past us too, not realizing he went right past you in the darkness 'cause you didn't have any lights on your shell. Maybe you should get your NCAA Varsity Women's program to buy some for you with all of that money we hear is being doled out....So then he wakes us out again going back down to find you.

Then you've got the two of them hounding you up the river, throwing up monster wakes because the launches don't pitch right at anything below full speed. Meanwhile you and your fellow boatmates have all the timing and grace of SNL's Ed Grimley. I often wonder, is there irrefutable evidence that two numbskulls coaching you is better than one?

But wait, the morning's not over yet, young punk/twit sweepers. Here come all the boats full of people who have rowed for ten, twenty, even thirty years. And what do you do? That's right, my little stomach-acid-generators, you turn your boats in front of them at the last possible minute...blocking the bridge arch. Nicely done. Don't worry, the alumni will just buy a brand new JESBLOWME eight when you wreck that one...

My only advice is this: when it takes you 35 minutes to get your uncoordinated asses actually in the boat and on the water, you should realize that you will not get any faster with a grueling workout in the remaining 20 minutes you actually have for rowing. Go back inside and play on the erg until April.

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