Return to the Water

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1974 Long Beach Lightweight Rowing

Western Sprints Champions

Active Rowing - Return to the Water

Beach Crew Alumni Regatta, November 10, 2012

The Big Race

From Peter
Team -

I really need some of the people in the boat to tell you how the race went. Suffice it for me to say it was a long story that unfolded very quickly. What I could see and report from my vantage point at the starting line was . . .

Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention. We all thought it was going to be a 4,000m head race around the island. We got there and found out it was going to be 850m sprint from the boathouse to the finish line head to head against the LBSU heavies from the 1960s. It was well known that they were going to jump the start, so I told our guys they should go on "Etes" of "Etes-vou pret?" We even practiced it on the ergometer. Well, the other boat went on "The boats are aligned," surprised the hell out of us, and we went shortly thereafter . . . but we seemed not to believe that they wouldn't call everybody back for such outrageous behavior, and so we stopped and started and hemmed and hawed and were at least two lengths down before we finally had all eight guys sort of rowing.

I'll let others fill in the rest. I believe Doug has film of the start.

The real news is that Ted felt a pain up his arm while in the boat, and after the race everybody freaked out, much to Ted's embarrassment, worrying that he might be having a heart attack. Anyway, the paramedics met the boat at the dock, and they were terrific, very professional. They gave him an ekg on the spot and put him on oxygen. John F. was watching closely and later reported that they said the ekg indicated that Ted had undergone some sort of heart "event," so off to Los Alamitos Hospital they took him. After an hour or so, Ted's brother called and said Ted had left his sweats at the boathouse and that he and their mother were returning to pick them up. I tracked the sweats down, and when they arrived, he said Ted's testing at the hospital was completely clean, and he guessed that they had told him at the dock that they had found something just so they didn't have to argue with him about going to the hospital just to be on the safe side. I imaging he will be there under observation overnight.

Today is perhaps a wake-up call for us all:
If you're going to jump the start, don't be a sissy about it. Go all in!!!
It's time for all of us to remember sensible diet and exercise. None of us is getting any younger
(Admittedly, not in that order.)

One other thing worthy of remark. Ted started feeling the discomfort well before the race, but was he going to let down his teammates? Not a chance! You're my hero, Ted . . . but don't do that again!

The '60s guys were terrific. They invited us to join them individually when they row two or three times a month. This is actually a tradition. Many of these same guys were already splashing around in fours once a week or so for fun and cameraderie back in 1974. They have shirts and everything.

I have recently been drafted to be the men's novice coach at Loyola-Marymount, and a couple of the LMU guys came down to drink in the sights, the 1932 Olympic Course, and all these guys with crazy looks in their eyes reliving their youths and babbling about their coach. There was a good turnout of novice crews from around the area, and the pancakes and sausages afterwards were delicious. You may recall we participated in a similar reagtta in the fall of 1973, and our fastest of six eights of Long Beach Lightweights was stroked by Chuck with John O. in 3, and coxed by Marsha, all present 38 years later.

Altogether, this was one of those "You had to be there" days. Let's plan on doing it again next year if only to support the Beach Crew Alumni . . . and let's get some practice in next time so that we can row up to the standard we set 38 years ago. John O. said he can set us up with a boat and a launch just about any time.

Warm regards,

Return to the Water

From Adriaan

Hello All,

It was a distinct pleasure to row with old (no pun intended) teammates from a season not too long ago; it was a true BLAST to re-live the moment. Cutting to the chase, here's my re-cap:

1. We row a few practice runs (around 2,000 meters worth) and now we're a bit spent.
2. I am carrying the stroke a bit too fast and get de-stroked by our old (npi) Team Captain; good move on John's part. Hey, what can I say, I am still the hyper, excitable rower I used to be figuring we'd sprint the 850 meters.
3. We head back to the dock for seat changes including changing Bruce from Port to Starboard. (Some say the boat is faster on the Starboard side now.) John takes over the stroke position and lowers the SPM from 32 to 27, a more reasonable pace. We're all feeling good. Time to row/time to win.
4. We head to the starting line practicing rowing/gliding/rowing/gliding/balancing...relaxing.
5. I catch a crab I am able to fend off without too much trouble and, more importantly, without notice... I think...and am all at once humbled and terrified. I shake off the crab and the terrifying moment.
6. Ted whispers he is having problems holding the oar with one of his hands; we converse, he thinks its arthritic and we decide he can hold a post race beer with his other hand. (We had no idea at this point.)
7. We get to the Staring Line. Et Vous...what...what the #^!! happened?!?! The "When I'm 64" boat jumps the gun and takes off. We start rowing, John's waiting, Marsha's yelling "GO, GO" and we're off to the races. We start pulling on the "jump starters" and are feeling fine. We're closing the gap man, closing the gap. Then, now what, Ward's oar flies out of the oar lock, literally flies completely out. He manages to get it back in place and it flies out again. Ward muscles it back in and we're moving along at a decent clip again...except we are now but meters from the finish.
8. Hey, we all realize it was for the fun of the gathering, the rowing together again, the camaraderie... what a BLAST!
9. As we row our way proudly (thanks to our Cox who is encouraging us) back to the Boathouse, Ted begins to feel pain. We converse and it's no longer a discussion of post race beers. He is feeling poorly and we realize at that moment that we need to get back to the dock pronto. The bow and stern oars kick in, we get John O's attention (who is in the launch running traffic), cut the course and yell at a few 8's to move aside as we make a B'Line for the dock to get our teammate to safety.
10. We reach the dock and I see two legs flying in the air, look over and see a body plunge straight into the drink, camera held high. I thought it was a member of the sort of was. Why, it was our own official photographer, Doug C. himself. It was all in the moment; I heard someone comment that he threw himself in the drink for the team even though he wasn't Cox'g the boat. You da man Doug.
11. The Paramedics arrive and check Ted, give him oxygen and take him to the hospital. We are all worried and hope for the best.

Suffice it to say, Ted took a big one for the Crew. I can't imagine what he was thinking when he, I'm sure, realized he was experiencing the pain he was feeling. Also, in retrospect, John I am sure stopped rowing when the other boat jumped the gun (as I did initially) figuring a re-start. That was the chivalrous thing to do.

Wow, what an event, what a day...THANK YOU ALL!

A aka F aka AVDC

The Big Race

From Marsha

First of all, some of our highlights:
- Pete had everyone meet at the ergs and rowing on them. Beside the refresher lesson, a number of college kids came in to watch and listen.
- During the coxswain's meeting, I introduced myself to the LB Heavyweight Varsity coxswain. He knew our history. Nice.
- Many of the guys brought family. It was so nice to meet them. Many pictures were taken. I am sure they will be shared soon.
- Fred Mayfield showed up reasonably on time.
- We did not crash the boat (well almost - in the beginning port side was so strong that I thought we were going into the rocks. The rudder had quite the workout).
- We did at times have all 8 rowing with balance. Never did successfully glide. But we tried.
- Crews on the beach side of Marine Stadium cheered for us. We went by with our heads up high.
- We finished.
- When we did row with all 8 oars, we were moving up on those64's.
- No one in the boat fell in, or got wet, except Banigan (a few splashes).
- We docked the boat twice without crashing (trust me - it was touch and go. At one time I said I could not get it in. We were at the wrong angle).
- John F. was great acting as our coach on the water. Thanks again, John. It was a pleasure working with you.
- We did a row for Bob R. and remembered everyone else who could not make it.
- We had pancakes afterwards.
- Many of us met at a restaurant to have beer later.
- We made contacts with the other alumni to row on a consistent basis.

Alrighty - now the casualties of the day:
- The boat was low on the port side through out the race. The port rowers could not get their oars out of the water. The starboard rowers had trouble finding the water. As Fred M. said, port rowed twice as hard as starboard.
- We did not get to do our start, as there was no start. What boat takes off before the starter even sets the boats???
- Ward was amazing at bow. His oar came out of it's lock two times. He said that he panicked, but that was hard to tell. Both times he was able to replace the oar and join us.
- Banigan was affected with Ward losing his oar, so at times, we rowed with all of port side under water and only two starboard oars. Quite a feat.
- I ran over a buoy. Where did it come from? Only the stroke (John F). hit it. Oops.
- During warm up, Ted complained about losing feeling in his arm. He said feeling returned. We thought little of this. When the race finished, he stopped rowing and bent over. He was not responsive for a short time. After reading Pete's emails, I know that Ted is going to be fine. Thank goodness! Everyone stayed calm as we moved the boat back to the boathouse as quickly as possible. The officials thought that we were not serious when we called 'emergency'. Thank you John O'Donnell for moving 5 boats out of the way so we could perform an emergency dock. Try telling young rowers that we have a 911. It was like 'what?'
- We lost Doug Corbett for a second as he fell into the water trying to catch our bow as we came in sideways. His video camera is definitely a casualty. It was for a good cause Doug. We just hope you are able to retrieve the video that you took that day.
- Yes, we came in last. Who cares. See highlights. They so outweigh anything else. Ted will live. We are a close group that truly cares about each other. Nothing else matters.

I am sure this is just a start as each of us has a different story to tell. Quite a day.

I love all of you.


From Chuck

I'm glad all is good with you Ted. My prayers were with you. Marsha and AKA's emails said it all. I wasn't going to email until I heard everything was OK with Ted.

So now we can get into the fun.

Arrived and had erg practice. Planned to leave on "Et Vous".

The old guys just took off with no commands. We left and the rest was "history", I guess. (Don Henderson - being a fellow drag racing fan, this was like a car red lighting to the eighth mile before we even left)

The interesting thing was being in the bow, I had no idea what was going on with Ted. Wards oar broke out of the oarlock but we continued on.

I couldn't understand why after the race we were rowing back to the start so fast with the bow rowing most of the way. Marsha was 'way cool' under pressure.

To make this "Americas Funniest Home Video" complete - As we approached the dock, I heard a huge splash and looked back and people were pulling Doug and his expensive camera out of the water, as he tried to catch the bow and pull us in.

It was all good.

Thank you so much Pete for making this happen. The oar, the photo, but most importantly renewing our friendships from "the day."

The best part of the day was talking and catching up with so many of you. We actually are the same people we were back then...with older bodies.

More than anything else, I am so blessed to have known you all, and what great memories we can share together.


Return to the Water

From John


I'm speaking for myself only although I know we all care. Life is fragile. It is a gift. I am so happy you are fine. When you're with friends, like this morning, you never have to put your health on the line. I would much rather have paddled that course than risked your otherwise good health.

Use this as inspiration. We all need inspiration.

Thanks for bouncing back. Be well.


Warming Up

From Ted

Pete, et al.

First, thanks to all for your concern. I've now been released with a referral to my own doc for a follow up.

My apologies to all for any concern I caused. Most of all, I'm mostly sorry that I missed the chance to commiserate with everyone afterword.

I promise to heed Pete's advice for the future! Best wishes all


Return to the Water

From Ward

Everyone -

This experience was surreal and not lacking for drama. A BIG thanks to all teammates and especially Pete for making this day possible. Lots of challenges, lessons learned, and a reminder that rowing an eight is not like riding a bicycle. The learning never stops. My impression from the bow: These boats are L O N G. It felt like being in another zipcode out there but I had the best view. At first, it was a bit awkward on starboard but I recall rowing both sides. Honestly, I choose starboard (and someone had to) thinking it was the other side (as in a conventional boat the you don't sit backwards). Doh!!

The balance wasn't great and wasn't helped by the chaos of playing catchup as the adrenaline overpowered. As the boat rocked, it was hands high then hands low to keep the blade in a good spot. I found it tricky leaning to get a clean release with the hatchet. At about the halfway point, my little disaster struck. As the boat pitched starboard, the oar shaft hit the top of the oar lock hard punching it open and throwing the shaft out -- all in an instant. Holy crap!! I was stunned when I noticed the lock was closed!. The oar must have slammed it just right closing it as it fell back down. This confused the hell out of me. Trying to unscrew it, caused the boat to lean. Now thinking should I just try to balance the boat or continue trying to put it back. This happened twice, then finally I carefully continued rowing with the lock fully open. Although I cranked the knob tight when at launch, apparently it wasn't fully seated. I apologize to everyone for this snafu, it was entirely MY responsibility.

I'm looking forward to getting on the water again soon. Thanks again to everyone and of course Marsha and Fletch for their take charge leadership. It was a dream come true to return to rowing.


Back to the Water

A 40 Year Rowing Reunion is being planned for 2014. Check back here for details every few islands.