You Reap What You Row

For those who aren't quite as extensively informed on the techniques of enhanced interrogation, the two-kilometre test on the rowing ergometer might be the ultimate window to the soul. And while it does help a coach gain insight into the mindset of the athlete, as well as their physical potential to move a boat, it's much more effective as an introspective endeavour. Hundreds and hundreds of tedious kilometres narrowed down to 5 (hah!) to 8 (likely) minutes of validation. Like driving across the prairies for a booty call. Is it worth it? Let me work it.


This post is timely since CIRCs (Canadian Indoor Rowing Championships) were held this past Sunday and I kept refreshing my browser (we're all nerds about something) to see the results and how disgustingly fast some humans are, namely from my alma mater, where the only thing I knew of the sport at the time was that some douche bag named "Smart Guy" (but taller and whiter than the kid on TV) liked to tell people he was a rower and future doctor. A few years later sources confirmed the latter but laughingly discounted the former.



Anyway, it's pretty typical for sport in general that hours spent training are disproportionately greater than those spent competing, but at least some have a little more fun: in volleyball you get like 30 high fives in one game, and in snowboarding you get high like 30 times at the X Games. But in this sport the return on investment is certainly much lower; nearly 99% of metres rowed are during training. Fortunately, instead of waiting until you're on your deathbed to reconsider every choice you've made in life, you only have to wait till the 1k mark. But I guess that's more of a quirk than a perk. And about as useful as that assonance. (#datassonance)


The soul leaving the body; jumping ship, as it were.

What's so intriguing about this endeavour then? Well, not all that much, especially in relation to its more popular counterparts. One (Rob) sometimes feels as if they (he) aren't (ain't) (*isn't) (**sorry mom) training for a sport, rather training as a sport – hold your horses there Crossfit, two can play that game - and while we’re at it, high five for injured backs!

So if nothing else, the 2k is a very well-defined challenge.

Grace under fire.

How flawless can your form become, and how close to flawless can your form remain while your body is nearing complete exhaustion. And will you poop your uni in the last 300 metres? These are some of the greatest philosophical questions in sport, specifically the latter.

But at least when you finish you can physically tell if you gave it your all, and you can't externalize your failure. It wasn't the biased ref, it wasn't the home crowd, the weather, or the guy beside you. Unless he farted (final 300m?). Or, if any of this took place on the water, then yes, it was completely because of your lane assignment. I know, it’s ok, there there, yes, I saw the wake.

I guess it’s good timing to end this here as I’m now coughing on a piece of tin foil-covered easter chocolate that was on sale at the grocery store today – how ironic that it was given the bad lane a.k.a. trachea. I realize it might seem a little pre-emptive to celebrate easter, but at this point we all know that Jesus is coming. For, as a great man once wrote (on a bumper sticker), “we can tell because he’s breathing heavy.”

Apologies to christians.


Spoiler alert.