Saturday. It is Coolidge. "Everyone up!" What a sleep. We roll out of
bed, and the rush for the bathroom is on.
Another big meal
at breakfast. Milk for the last time today. It's supposed to curdle in your
stomach if you drink it too close to a race.
When we get back
to the boathouse I stretch out in the lounge. Thumb through some old magazines.
LIFE, with Elizabeth Taylor receiving her Academy Award. Freddie comes through.
I ask him if we are going to have a morning workout. "No," he says,
I don't say so,
but I think a workout would be a good thing. The more time we spend with the
new shell the better. We never did get it running properly yesterday. Also it
would give us something to do. I feel the old prerace tension coming on. I have
had it much worse. I used to get it Friday night at the latest. Sometimes I
would walk around all day Friday with it building in me. The first varsity race
I rowed in prep school I was sick on Thursday night. I vomited twice. I am a
lot surer of myself now. The whole boat may fall apart, but I will be able to
do my job. I used to be afraid that I'd catch a crab or forget the racing start
or miss a lot of water all the way down the course. I don't get afraid anymore,
but you never get over being tense.
starts in your stomach, softly, a little different from fear, which gets you in
the chest at the start. Then the tension works up to your chest, and by the
time we put the boat in the water I know that it will seem hard to breathe. It
is helpful to know what will happen. I'm ready for it, at least. I feel sorry
for the people who have never been through this before. I am also a little bit
wary of them.
Ned comes in, and
we begin talking about our rowing at prep school. Our school is rowing Kent,
its archrival in crew, today. We reminisce about our own Kent races. There were
four of them, and we lost them all. We only lost five races in two years. The
last time we lost to Kent, in the interscholastics, we had a much better crew.
We lost by a deck length, and we were going by them one seat a stroke at the
finish. "We just didn't have enough room," Ned says.
say, "that's the trouble with a mile. Not enough room." In prep school
everyone rows miles. Lights in college row Henleys, a mile and
Ned doesn't like
mile races either. No time to get settled in. "It's all a big sprint. The
crew with the most muscle wins," he says. "Look at Kent."
at Kent. They're all football types. We always gave 'em 15 pounds a
"If we'd just
had a Henley that last time...."