Saturday, 31st July
Rowing at the World Championships always gives me an inflated sense of self worth which is quickly deflated when I come back home. Over here, we row in front of packed grandstands of cheering fans but in the U.S. we toil away in virtual anonymity. In the U.S., Erik Miller from the Light Men´s 8 is just another pretty face (6 feet 4 inches, 155 pounds, spells H.O.T.T.I.E). Here in Spain, Erik can´t even get on the bus without being hounded to autograph one of his official Home Depot Olympic Program trading cards. Marcus ¨Squirrel¨ McElhenney (motto: I don´t speak Spanish, but I´m fluent in Asshole), coxswain of the Men´s 4, can´t go anywhere without getting mobbed by the paparazzi. In the U.S., he only gets recognized when someone asks if he´s part of the Lollipop Guild.
Why should this popularity divide exist when rowing clearly is the greatest sport in the world? The problem is partly one of public relations. Prohibitive costs, specialized requirements and attitudes create the atmosphere of elitism. Therefore I propose we begin an all out marketing campaign to improve our image.
First we start with the kids, for like Whitney Houston I believe they are the future. We need to develop a line of rowing related toys so that the youngsters can build an early love of rowing. I already have a few prototypes in development. The Tickle-Me-Teti and Terhaar dolls are doing well with focus groups, and the Cursin´Korzeniowski with the Kung Fu grip has tested through the roof (although we´re still having problems meeting flame retardant standards).
Next we need a great mascot. Something the public can really get behind. For Heavyweights, a large, lumbering, land animal like an elephant, Yeti or Sasquatch would do. For Lightweights, I´m thinking something slim and quick, like the Grim Reaper.
Finally we need to have solidarity in the rowing community against the Hollywood community. I think we can all agree that stinkers such as The Skulls or Rob Lowe´s Oxford Blues were giant steps backward for our image. Therefore the next time movie producers come to rowers looking for extras we need to make sure that only A-list talent and directors are involved in the project.
That´s all from me, thanks Ed and row2k for posting this insane nonsense, please support this website.
I´ll see everyone back in the U.S.A.
Row as hard as you can and then let your heart take you the rest of the way.