The “we” part of the title is an exaggeration. I drive, I do not row. I’m still trying to figure out how these Great Dane-like boys actually get into these skinny boats without capsizing them. It’s a safe bet that I would be in the lake if I tried it. There has been lots of rowing, nevertheless (I love typing that word).
Last weekend was Andy’s first competition. It was the Elvis ERG thing. Mike and I kind of lucked out. There were something like 1200 kids competing and not enough room for parents. Mike drove Andy out to the event (held in Melbourne) and we both picked him up ten hours later. Based on the smell of the gym when we picked Andy up, I am grateful we were not there all day. Blechhhh. Andy did really well for his first event. He rowed with the freshmen – not the Elvii – which was exciting. He placed fourth in his first flight of 60 kids and 34 out of the whole group of freshmen. To celebrate, we invaded the home of Andy’s godparents after the race and Andy ate all of their food. Seriously, he ate nearly 1/2 a crockpot of delicious pulled pork. (Sorry if you were counting on leftovers, Ann.)
This past weekend was the team’s first race on water in actual boats. Sadly, this event was unthemed so no need for capes or anything. Mike and I once had a HUGE fight in a canoe. That is the extent of our boating experience. A regatta with all kinds of fancy boats was completely foreign to us. Andy had to be at the race at 6 am. It was only a 30 minute drive from the house, so Mike handled that since he’s up anyway. Mike and I went back to the regatta around 8:00 am. It was chilly, but seemed like it might turn into a good day.
There were a LOT of people. Each team had it’s own tent for the kids. The parents were definitely more practiced than Mike and me. They had canopies, coolers, assorted thermoses, binoculars with tripods, cameras with six-foot-long-lenses and clothing to match the team they were supporting. I had a mug of tea and a camera. Mike had the car keys. The other thing we realized is that neither of has a clue how to read a schedule for the races. Andy, who is not a morning person, was being snarky and unhelpful about his race times. The coach kept the kids busy too and that was not helpful to us. (Doesn’t the little girl in this picture have the most beautiful hair?)
For a while we stood behind a woman snuggling a fuzzy pink blanket and I kept trying to get a glimpse of the baby. I should get a medal for not screaming when she whirled around suddenly and the ugliest little dog stuck its head out of the blanket. I wish I had had the presence of mind to take a picture because she was standing next to the sign that said “No Dogs!” While I was freaking out about the dog, Mike talked to someone who helped him sort out the schedule.
The thing about these races is that the boats whiz past very quickly and it’s hard to tell who’s rowing. We spent much of the day alternating between the finish dock and the starting dock. We met some very helpful parents from all over the state – many with older rowers. We have a lot to learn, but we made some headway.
Shortly after the scary dog in the pink blanket episode, it began to drizzle. The wind picked up and the temperature started dropping. No, it’s not Cleveland or Buffalo, but the wet cold in Florida makes everything ache and you feel like you’ll never get warm again. We just kept moving. Andy’s race was exciting. It helps that Andy is blonde because he’s easier to spot. His first race put his team in third place. Yay! (That’s Andy in the third seat from the left. He IS blonde, but he’s soaking wet, so nevermind. We found him because of his short sleeves.)
We continued to march around. The rain continued to pick up. By 11:00, Mike and I hightailed it to the car to sit in the heated seats (that is the best invention ever) and try to dry our feet and get warm. That did not really work. We went to Walmart and picked up dry socks. We were still cold so (don’t tell Andy) we went to Chili’s for lunch. Dry and warm, we headed back to regatta world. Andy had another race at 2. It was about 1 when we headed down to the lake.
You have never seen a group of more miserable parents. What had started in the morning as a festive, picnic atmosphere now resembled a strange homeless camp. People were layered in whatever they could find in their cars. Canopies were now leaking. The people selling coffee and hot chocolate had to close so they could restock. It was close, but no riot. Most adults living in Florida do not cope well with cold, wet weather. Meanwhile, the kids were all barefoot, wearing their insubstantial rowing suits. They were impervious to the cold and wet.
The races continued. Andy rowed on two more boats, placing solidly in the middle. I’m anxious to see how they do as the season progresses. I think by May, they will be a force to be reckoned with. As the races (mind you there were hundreds
of kids racing) began winding down, kids and parents began loading the boat trailers and packing up. Everyone was soggy and grumpy.
Overall, it was a fun event. Mike and I bought ourselves folding chairs in the team’s colors when we went to WalMart for socks. It’s only a matter of time until we have this deal figured out, right?
Andy was starving when we finished – he had eaten the four sandwiches and snacks I had packed for him. We drove through McDonald’s with the heater blasting. As we pulled out of the drive-through the rain stopped, the sun popped out and it was a beautiful evening.
My mom let me borrow her camera. It took me a while to figure out, but I’m sticking some random pictures on here because they are better than I usually take. My favorite is the one of Andy in the rain. He doesn’t look like my baby anymore!
I don’t think there are any events until March. By March you can expect a post from me complaining about sunburn and how hot it was.