1974 Long Beach Lightweight Rowing Team

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1974 Long Beach Lightweight Rowing

Western Sprints Champions


From Ken
Like you, I'll never forget the day I was walking across campus and Pete (and Greg, I think) were standing next to a beautiful Pocock eight on slings, talking to anyone who would listen. What really affected me was the after school meeting with Pete, which was full to the rafters. I believed every word Pete said - and by the end of the season, he made good on every promise, and then some. An amazing experience, incredible year, life-changing coach, and irreplaceable teammates.


From Bob
One year ago I sent the following to John Fletcher. I brought it up to date and now am happy to share it with more folks (yeah, it's a little personal so bear with me). Because of our work and joy in doing so, there are more of us together to remember. Put some thoughts down on paper or email, as you like. Keep looking for folks as our work is not yet done. And rest assured we all know we all did something special for ourselves and our teammates. I will be out of touch for a few weeks, so will leave you with this.
Be well, Bob

I remember:
...38 years ago on May 18, 1974. Chuck weighing in last to guarantee the boat makes weight. The yellow bike caps and brown t-necks under the tank top, unwashed for good luck that season. Anxious to get started as we waited on the line. Relieved to start, in the race I dreamt about, the opportunity I sought since I first came to the boathouse in September 1971. We pull those first stokes, then that high 20 before we shift (the Ratz). I remember driving through the 1000, not far ahead enough of UW to feel good. I remember burying myself in the third 500-the best place to break free, to get away. I remember taking a 10 for the boathouse, my haven. I remember a 10 for Tom McKibbon, because he asked me to do that for him the day before we left for the Sprints. Imagine an Olympian and World Champion asking me to take a power 10 for him. I remember little of the last 200 meters, but I remember utter bliss and heavy breathing after we all got over the line. I remember looking up at the UW bow guy as I took his shirt, a shirt I wanted for a long time. I remember getting shoved in the water, and drying off with paper towel in a bathroom at Burnaby Park, alone, wet, with my shirts and thoughts. I remember stopping and crying a little then, relieved in that moment, knowing when I walked out, the job at hand, was successfully completed. I remember walking over to the grand stands with you, to sit with your folks, to watch UCI (Ibbetson at stroke) nearly beat UW in the heavy final. I remember feeling light, walking on air. I remember feeling my life had changed. At last, I was a champion of something that meant more to me than anything other than my family.

Remember sanding the finish off of the Pocock shell for more speed? And weighing our plates of spaghetti (nobody called it "pasta" then) the nights before the heat and final? I do. I also remember the day in the snow, and your folks shuttling us around.

I remember breaking my #5 metatarsal on my right foot in October 1973, on crutches and wondering if I'd miss too much practice to make my goal. I remember all of the seat races, each one a test, each one a roadblock and an opportunity to get what I wanted. I remember looking at the erg at the Orange Coast boathouse and knowing it was one more obstruction to what I wanted-the little sign on the erg said "BEAT Wash." They did it in 1973, we did it in 1974. I remember my last visit to a McDonald's was on March 17,1974 after those ergs, never to return again to a McDonalds. I remember starving myself, and running around the campus at noon, and doing squat jumps in the morning before classes, and dreaming of the ideal perfect breakfast while I ran up Airplane Hill. I remember running up Signal Hill with Tom McKibbon, driving past people after the false summit, as if it were the 1700m mark of a race. I remember dinners of tuna and lettuce after a day where I burned 8000 calories. And how good a peanut butter sandwich tasted on a Sunday afternoon, before the cycle started again on Monday morning: wake up, squat jumps, classes, run at noon, lunch, classes, workout, dinner, study, sleep.

I remember sailing with you, measuring my height at your folks home. I remember the standard you set for me to meet. I remember the Crisco and sunlight on Pocock wood shells, and talking with Pete Archer, and watching JVB rowing out to do intervals.

I remember coming home from Burnaby, with a gold medal and a stack of shirts, neatly folded in my bag. Fred picked me up from the airport. I remember the look of joy on my parents faces-they could not believe it, but I could. I remember the trophy, and another look of joy on my parents faces when I was awarded Co-Crewman of the Year at the rowing awards banquet. You sat next to me, our captain, and smiled at me when my name was announced, from manager of the team at Los Gatos in 1973 to Co-Crewman of the Year and champion one year later in Burnaby. I should have thanked my folks in public that night, but failed to do so. They were the champs, putting up with me when a workout did not go well, or I was too tired to do much more than study or sleep. I cannot thank them any more now, they're gone.

Finally, I remember waking up the morning after I got back from Burnaby. I had finals to prepare for, and shirts to wash, and a life to continue. I had new dreams to dream, new frontiers to seek, new plans to make. I still have those things, and some of the shirts and all of the medals, too.

And I have our friendship, too, thankfully. I hope you are well John. Check in with me when you get a chance.


Long Beach Boathouse Dock

From Ken
Hey Ann (or Patty Ann, or Patty, or Cox),

We mundo macho jockos might bluster all day long about how cool and studly we were in that eight, but you were the one that made it fly. Your intensity, focus, and hunger for competition were without equal, at least among the poor coxes and crew jocks that had to race against us. I often wondered when you were going to swing from a yardarm into the other team's shell and beat the crap out of their cox, if not their stroke. You were, in a word, AWESOME.

But there was one moment above all the others that freaked me out down to my toes back then, but has inspired me over the years every time I've been tempted to lose my confidence and cool and turn into a total weenie in the face of tough competition. That was when we were already on the stake boat at the Western Sprints, with the starter counting down the SECONDS (no, not minutes - seconds) to the start, and you had our bow pair scull the boat back into position for a clean start. Cooler than the other side of the pillow, as they say. Not a crack or a strain in your voice. No rush, no panic. Just taking care of business, with like 20 seconds to the start. I don't know how Bob & Doug felt about it, but I was about to lose my breakfast - until I thought, "No - she's got it. It's Ann. She always knows what she's doing." You talked them through the drill just like Pete coached us, we got set, and the race started - just that quickly. I think you know how it turned out. Over the years, there have been more than a few times when I've felt like losing my breakfast (or my mind) over the intensity of imminent competition; and when I've run out of mental tricks to get myself under control and keep my wits about me, I always go back to your amazing poise under pressure during those 20 seconds or so on the stake boat at Burnaby Lake. And it's made a huge difference.

My second most memorable moment, by the way, occurred a little later when you literally willed us into open water ahead of UW on a perfectly timed power piece. In fact, I can still hear your voice. And, for the trifecta, I doubt that any of us (especially Doug) will ever forget the way you flogged us down Ballona Creek against UCLA. Another champion-worthy performance.

We all went our separate ways so quickly at the end of the year that I, for one, never had the chance to offer you a proper "Thank you," as if those inadequate words could even begin to touch the debt of gratitude we owe you for that season. Thirty-eight years later is a little tardy, but here it is just the same: Thank you, Ann, for one incredible year. It could never have happened without you.


From Bob
Ken - Thank you for another great memory. Well written and poignant and a reminder of that moment to me. I must admit being a very deep zone then, doing "business as usual" at the start of a race, albeit THE race. It all seemed natural to me, what we do. But I do remember being exhorted to get open water, and remember the boat lifting to do so. So, as the old song goes, "thanks for the memories." And, of course, thanks and welcome back to Patti Ann.


From Bob
April 27, 1974. at Bologna Creek. A wacky race:
1. 3pm race time-crazy if you have to weigh in to make a race that late in trhe day (why was that?)
2. Under rigged! Pete's only rigging error: rigged light in a tail wind. Ouch: no load nad wind it up.
3. They had bookstore shirts to lose. Pete told us not to take them-tell them we'd get them next week at the Newport regatta (which we did but they were the same bookstore shirts).
Bob (Memory Bank, usually)

Bob Rogen at the Sprints

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