Day of the Longboat

Also known as “Day of the Group Brunch Munch” or “Day of the Bloody Knees” or “Day of the Blue Ponchos.”

Just over the past weekend a few friends and friends of friends competed in an annual UBC event, called you-guessed-it-’cause-it’s-in-the-title.

If you’re too lazy to read the post though, just watch this over and over. It sums up the fun pretty well:

GIF credit to The Point @ UBC.
GIF credit to The Point @ UBC.

There was a practice session the week before, but due to some mix-ups we ended up having all the practice time of 20 minutes or so.  Our team captain had also apparently signed us up as a competitive team but, as he so cheerfully put it, with a Just For Fun attitude. Competitive CoRec teams all had to have roughly the same number of females and males. Our team had 9 members (4 girls, 5 guys). The route for the races looked like this (we followed the light blue track):

Photo credit to UBC REC.
Photo credit to UBC REC.

No sweat, right? We had a steer-person with previous experience and rowing, once we got the hang of it, was not too shabby. As we arrived two by two to the parking lot on the day of the race the day was cloudy but there was no rain and the weather was decent. We were on time, we all registered without trouble and we were fit to go. That is, until we realized (after 15 calls and numerous text messages) that our steer-person was nowhere to be found.

With no time to spare we pressed the status of steer-person onto Abriel, who had never before steered a boat in his life (and who hadn’t practiced with us either). Steer-people start the race by sitting on a chair on the beach, while the rest of their teammates sit ready in the boat. At the siren the steer-person runs down the beach, pushes the boat into the water and clambers aboard. Many a teammate has been left behind due to the other paddlers not bothering to see if the steer-person has actually gotten onboard. Not us though; Abriel shoved us all in and off we went into a massive scram.

As we neared the shore I prepared to jump out. Not jump ship, mind you, but the runner’s job (that’s me!) is to jump out of the boat at the baton beach location, run up the beach, grab a baton, run through two red posts and then run back to the boat. No sweat, right? I jumped out of the boat, promptly fell and was pushed along by the boat, got up triumphantly, took two steps and fell again.

I am a klutz.

Regardless, up I went, ran I tried and plop into the boat I did, with all speed and alacrity. We paddled back around the loop towards the finish line when I noticed my knees were dripping, and not with rain. I am ashamed to admit that even nearing the finish line I began to slack off, only dipping my paddle in with every other stroke. Being the runner, I jumped out onto shore, ran up the beach and struck the gong with the baton. That’s when someone said I should go to first aid, and my teammates realized why I hadn’t been pulling my weight.


The good thing is that it looked worse than it was. The bad thing was that it hurt to walk and we were all shivering. Nevertheless my teammates were great sports and we thought our race was a job well done, what with our coming in at 15:25 (the team first in our heat had come in at 12 minutes or so).

Then we found out we had actually advanced to semi-finals! The weather was getting chillier though, and everyone wanted food, so off we went to eat some brunch.

2013-09-29 11.55.44

Uh yeah, that’s all whipped cream. I didn’t eat all of it though. Not all >____>.

Full after our brunch munch, our team went back to the beach to race at 1:20 PM. The rain had started, the winds were picking up and everyone was clamouring for some blue plastic ponchos being held out by BC Hydro surveyors. That’s clever marketing research (although people could be lying just to get ponchos). We were admittedly very miserable, what with the races being delayed and us not getting into a boat until almost 2:00 PM, however, once we were on the water things seemed all better. Abriel had left but our original steer-person was back and we were good to go.

Five minutes later, we all realized there was no way we’d advance because we were so dead last it was funny. We paddled, and joked, and growled and pushed on, but even after Ingrid (the more graceful runner) had retrieved our baton we knew that it was over. Over. Our brunch-munched-bodies didn’t even have the strength to paddle. Then one girl started to sing…

Row, row, row your boat…

And the rest of the girls joined in…

Gently down the stream…

And then suddenly the guys in the back roared out:


And that was when our absolute whacked-up paddle-time began. Some of us were laughing so hard we really couldn’t paddle. We had reached the halfway point in the course and you could see the next heat starting, and suddenly we didn’t want to be lapped by the other team. We paddled some more and we were at the final turning point; the last path of paddling stretched out straight in front of us. We began singing in rounds.

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream; merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream; merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream; merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream; merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream; merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream; merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream

We rowed and sang for all we were worth and finally, finally we rowed onto the sand and Ingrid struck the gong. We cheered.

roster and times

We were pretty proud of our first time, and the second time was surprisingly okay. We didn’t advance, but I can safely say that Row Row Row Your Boat has a whole new level of meaning for us now.

Good job, team!



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