Spring, the biggest and busiest season of the rowing year, is suddenly just around the corner. As a parent, you may be thinking, “Ooooh, one or two long weekends away from home, a couple of regatta kitchen shifts—no big deal.” But that would be missing part of the point and most of the fun. If this is your first spring as a rowing parent or if you have forgotten what spring is like, you need some schooling. Consider this your BIR Guide to Spring Rowing, aka Your Reality Wake-up Call.
It’s called “Spring Season,” but you may have noticed that it is not spring yet. Therefore, you and your rower may experience the beginning of the season as a time of not only great hope but also great cold. Your rower, who will be out on the water, will experience this reality more intensely. Please make sure you are both dressed accordingly.
The spring uniform is a sleeveless top and shorts or an equally sleeveless short-legged one piece, which helps prevent uniform ride-up but makes the simple act of going to the bathroom somewhat challenging. If your rower does not yet possess either type of uniform, don’t worry: You will be given an opportunity to order it, and it will arrive just in time for the big regattas. However, please note that, given the weather (see Weather above), the beginning of spring season is likely to feature rowers in their fall season unis. This is normal and presents no reason to panic. The rowers will be instructed before each race what they are to wear, as they are every spring.
Spring races are not the long 5Ks you grew to know and love in the fall. In the spring, rowers sprint. In rowing, the word sprint means “row really hard for a long distance.” This is a key difference from the fall when rowers “row hard for a long distance.” Notice the difference between the two descriptions: the word really. You see, even if you are rowing “only” a 2K, which is the case in the spring, it still feels like a long distance when you are rowing “really hard,” which is what you have to do when sprinting. This is what I have been told by a junior rower. She was very clear about the difference.
The other key difference from fall involves the frequency, quantity, and location of rowing events. The fall featured three, with two parent signups for kitchen duty. The spring features at least nine, with five joyful opportunities for kitchen duty. Starting at the beginning of March, your rower will potentially be involved in a scrimmage or regatta every other weekend. By April, the frequency will increase to every weekend. It always does. You can see the schedule in black and white here.
On the location front, please note that one of the events, the Brentwood Regatta, occurs on foreign soil (specifically, on foreign water), in Canada. Attending this event will require a passport, a boat trip with a pre-made reservation, and a weekend’s worth of lodging. Plan ahead. The hotels around the regatta fill up quickly. The ferries also fill up quickly. Think about how you want to spend your time when your rower is not rowing. Yes, you will do some kitchen duty, but there is a lot of time to fill, er, enjoy. Also, your rower will inevitably want a Brentwood Regatta-branded something or other, such as a T-shirt or sweatshirt, but be warned: These sell out quickly in most of the sizes, so don’t wait until the last minute when you will panic and buy something three sizes too big.
Two other events happen pretty far away from home, in central Oregon and in Vancouver, Washington. No passport required this time but, again, you will need lodging. Plan ahead. If your rower happens to make it to Nationals, just a heads up: You will be visiting Florida in early June. Codeword: Humidity.
Sharing is caring: For some of the events, your rower may be riding a bus. For others, parents will need to carpool.
Spring season is serious, and rowers are expected to attend all practices. Exceptions, of course, are for injury and illness, but even in those cases the coaches need to be informed (via text) as early in the day as possible. Why, you ask? Imagine you had to create a seating plan for a wedding and, at the last minute, as the lucky couple were saying their vows, you discovered that three people at the head table weren’t coming to the reception. Coaches have to deal with this seating arrangement problem every single day of practice. Remember: A partly filled wedding table can’t go out into the water. (This is where the metaphor begins to break down, but the mental image should be hard to shake.)
One more thing: Rowers should be on time. Boats can’t go out until everyone is there.
Need A Little More Detail?
- Most of this info will be told in a different way, with better jokes at the upcoming Spring Season Juniors Orientation meeting (on Wednesday, January 30) at the BHS Commons (7 pm if this is your first Spring Season; 7:45 pm if you are a returning rowing family).
- Take a look at the Facebook Bainbridge Rowing Parents Group, which will offer at least some guidance and should make you feel better about your own questions and concerns. If you are not yet a member of that group, request entry.
- If you haven’t already, check out the Juniors Spring Season page here at bainbridgerowing.org. Fees and other vital details are already posted there.
- Of the greatest help for each regatta will be the Parent Leadership’s Regatta Guide, a multipage document available online telling you what you need to know for each of the regattas. You can find these all on the Juniors Regatta Schedule page as a PDF file posted in advance of each event. Each event also has a link to the general website for the event hosting club or organization, so if you are a super pre-planner, you can get information (including the full schedule) to get you started.
- In addition to attending the Orientation Meeting, plan to attend the season-opening Bainbridge Island Rowing 2019 Annual Meeting Season Kickoff & Chili Cookoff on February 6th at 7 p.m. at the Bainbridge Island Senior Center Commons. Many things will be explained at this meeting, and most will be useful.
- If you still have questions, contact the appropriate parent on the Parent Leadership Team. See who’s who here.
That’s it. Don’t be scared—be prepared. Spring is the most fun and exciting rowing season. Remember: No matter what your rower tells you, he or she really does want you to attend the regattas/scrimmages. We’ve learned this fact from alumni.
See you out on the water (or somewhere near the water, with a partial view of the finish line).