Being a rowing dad isn’t all fun and games you know. Sometimes, we parents have to sacrifice ourselves for our children. Take this past weekend, at the Ontario Championships in Welland.
Those of you who follow this blog will know that my daughters, Kelly and Jaime have been having great summer seasons. And at the Ontarios, they continued their winning ways. Kelly won gold in the Under 17 Women’s singles event and picked up a bronze in the double with her partner Beth Harris. Meanwhile, Jaime won a bronze in her double, with her partner, Jenn Barkens, in the Under 19 Womens. But unfortunately for Jaime, her singles final was just 30 minutes after the double, and Jaime just missed a bronze, coming in fourth in the Under 23 Womens Lightweight category.
So what was my sacrifice, I can hear you asking? Well, Welland is unique among the local rowing venues in that a path runs along the entire two-kilometre course. That means that if you’re on a bicycle, you can ride from the start to the finish, watching every stroke. It’s a wonderful way to watch the race and for the first time, I took a bike with me on the weekend. I’ve never been able to watch an entire race like that. It was fascinating to see the determination and effort these kids put into this sport.
Over the course of the day, I rode back and forth from the boathouse area, to the course, down to the start and back to the finish. Over and over again. All on my seldom-used bicycle. As you might expect, by the end of the day, my legs were getting a bit sore, and I was not sitting quite as comfortably as I had been. But the races were exciting, and it sure seemed worth it.
Then I got in the van for the hour-long drive back to Hamilton, where Heather was arriving at the airport and was looking for a ride home. Everything seemed OK until I tried to get out of the van only to discover that my thighs were so sore I could barely walk. Things had stiffened up a lot during the drive home.
By the time we arrived back at the house, things were much worse. That evening I could barely move. I walked the dogs to the part, then worried that I might not be able to make it home. I could barely put one foot in front of the other! Fortunately, a lot of ice packs (and a few scotches) later, I was able to get some sleep. Sunday morning, we were all back at the regatta, but I left my bike at home. I sat in my chair on the side of the course and watched the races through binoculars this time.
This upcoming weekend, the kids have a weekend off, then on Tuesday, the Henley Regatta begins. It’s the ultimate event for the rowers and we’re all very excited. But perhaps the best part for all of us rowing dads is that there’s a bona fide grandstand at the finish, with seats and everything…what luxury!
I plan to post some links to the regatta pages when I know the girls’ final schedules, which should be later this week. And for those of you interested, you’ll be able to follow the results in near-real time on the website.