Saturday, May 21, 2005

Courtenay Cox (Hee.)

So a few weeks ago, I decided to "take one for the team" and signed up for a coxswain clinic. Ideally, everyone on my crew (the infamous CrewU) was supposed to sign up, but due to work schedules (and the fact that I'm an unemployed grad student), I was the only one who could make it.

The first half started last week, and consisted of two hours worth of safety instructions, providing me with a laundry list of all the reasons why I never want to be a coxswain, ever.

The second half was today, and consisted of a "hands-on" practical lesson--In other words, 20 minutes of terror, followed by an hour and 40 minutes of recovery from said terror.

First, let me just begin by saying that my ass is way too large to accomadate the tiny seat that is made for the stick-people coxes. Did you ever see the Simpsons episode where Bart's a jockey and the creepy jockey elves come out to threaten him?

Well apparently the jockey elves moonlight as coxwains, because those are the only kinds of creatures who can fit in those seats.

But I digress...

I have to say that I lucked out not having to worry about navigating underneath a bridge, or docking, or any of that crap. I pretty much had open water. And I also kind of liked being bossy and having everyone do my bidding. But not even total domination and power could counteract my fear in trying to figure out how to move in a straight line and watch out for river hazards.

The most terrifying part, however, was rotating out of the coxswain seat.

Since we were all coxes in training, we were all supposed to have a go in the hot seat. A launch boat followed us out for that very purpose and easily switched us in and out.

Unfortunately, after I got moved into the cox seat, the launch boat didn't manage to be anywhere near us. So, after waiting in the hot sun and getting impatient, the crew made the executive decision to switch out on our own.

I thought it was a great idea, until I figured out what switching out on our own would entail. And furthermore, that I would be the first to have to do it.

Switching out consisted of the front three rowers lying on their backs, while the other 5 sat in the back and did their best to balance the boat. And say some prayers.

Because after the front three laid down, I had to crawl--hands and feet balanced on the outer rims of the boat--over them, and into my seat.

I don't know what scared me most--the thought of losing my balance and falling into the river, or the thought of losing my balance and falling on top of these three men I didn't know.

Fortunately, with the encouragement of the people I was crawling over (encouragement I later decided was most likely to protect them rather than me), I made it back to my seat without any disasters, and even received some applause.

I then spent the rest of the row deciding that I never wanted to cox again. Ever.

I suppose I'm too hard on myself and expect too much...and maybe, one day I'll try it again...

But for now I'm hoping the rest of my crew simply "forgets" that I ever went to the clinic...

Even though the thought of "Courtenay Cox" (coined by the launch driver) makes me giggle.


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