Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm looking forward to the eight race

Like I said, I'm not overly excited about the Olympics this time around but I do follow rowing. I've heard that they still have Mike Spracklen as a coach and he's got a really impressive coaching record. Love him or hate him, his coaching seems to produce results.

I remember when the men's 8+ won the world cup. It was part of a two year winning streak, and our coaches attributed to Spracklen's no-pain-no-gain style, a style that soon became fashionable in local clubs because of the national team's success.

All of a sudden out of nowhere we started hearing his name mentioned in conversations, our coaches invoking him as if he was some sort of deity that would grant us all luck. Coaches liked it because they were inspired. We didn't like it because it meant more practices, longer practices and harder workouts.

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I think it's fine to push people who have really made a committment to the sport and being competitive. I don't think it's a good idea to push people who are brand new or recreational, which is what happened and it drove a lot of people away, people who would otherwise have stayed around and helped pay the club's bills. But then again, it's difficult not to. Rowing's kind of an all-or-nothing sport. Either it is your entire life or it is not.

Some people put together a video about the world cup victory and I could watch it on repeat for forever. It doesn't seem to get old. But eventually the victory did. In the face of so much optimism and expectation the 8+ raced at the Olympics and failed to even medal. It was heartbreaking to watch.

I'm hoping they do better this time, but I'm also hoping that CBC will put them on some time when I'm not asleep or at work. The last thing I want to do is come home, turn on the TV and see baseball. Why is baseball even in the Olympics?