Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Head of the Charles Regatta, Day 2

A second consecutive beautiful day along the Charles River in Boston, Massachusetts.
The second day of our roadie to the Head of the Charles Regatta 2012, included the primary reason for our excursion: watching my stepson Gregory's McQuaid Jesuit High School junior eight compete. Because they launched at around 1:00 and werent' schedule to row until about an hour later, we had plenty of time to wander around the regatta site, along the Charles River, which was fairly extensive.

Our journey down the Charles began (to use an oft quoted teaching line) "with the end in mind": Anne and I started at the launch area where teams', including McQuaid's, prep their vessels for competition. Many schools flew colorful flags with paddle insignias and school mascots. It was a fairly festive area though as the day wore on, and the excited, energetic teams were replaced with exhausted, often discouraged rowers and coxswains.

Trailers with shells rigged and ready to race!
Rowing is a physically and emotionally challenging activity, and thought his was not a competition that had head-to-head racing but was rather based on time, often upon completion, without knowing the results, teams had a sense of their performance: good or poor.

Shells head to the start after entering the Charles at any number of launch areas.
We walked to the pre-planned meeting spot with other parents, Reunion Village. Fortunately, we had been invited by Boston College High School's rowing club to share their space at the "village." Located on the Boston side of the Charles River between the Weeks and Anderson Bridges, Reunion Village is a simply a small quartered off area wherein there is a single large tent and multiple smaller "stalls" that are reserved by schools, both secondary and collegiate, for their use during the races.

The Weld Exhibit as seen from the comfort of Reunion Village.
On the Harvard College side of the Charles is what is officially called "the Weld Exhibit," while it is more commonly referred to as "the free eats stop." Populated with (primarily) healthy food vendors, the Weld Exhibit served as our lunch stop for the early afternoon, before we needed to head back over the bridge to the McQuaid "eight" race.

The McQuaid eight boys heading to the start.
It would be hard to deny that in the end, McQuaid's eight ultimately performed below expectations. This is what happens when one has high expectations for performance. The team rowed "okay" (though I am in no way an "expert"), and though there were a number of factors that one could point fingers at (environmental and otherwise), we were very proud of the grit the boys showed. Many of them had been to the Head of the Charles event previously, and while this was my first one; it was an incredibly impressive event and I look forward to one day returning to watch Greg and his boat-mates row for their universities and colleges.

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