April 06, 2001

rowing news, thoughts on Dad

First, the rowing news:

Practice was actually a lot of fun today. I was in a mixed eight again, but this time not with a bunch of behemoths. I actually got to carry the boat on my shoulder. Also, we had two coaches out in two launches, so both boats (the other one was a menís quad) actually got some real coaching. We were doing 25-stroke pieces at 3/4 pressure, starting at a 20 rate then upping the rate by two every five strokes so we ended on a 30. Now, itís true that I like any drill that lets you paddle lightly every 25 strokes, but also I was astounded at how far the rowers in my program have come. You know how itís easiest to see how much a child has grown if you only see her at infrequent intervals? Thatís sort of the perspective I have on the rowing program after coming back from 3 months away. Probably the last time I did much rowing at a 30 rate was last October, when I was one of 8 women training for the Head of the Charles. Our cox wanted us to do that whole race at a 30, at frankly, we couldnít do it. The only way we could row that fast was to shorten up our slides. Today, in contrast, with a mixed boat that wasnít even used to rowing together, we hit that 30 and it felt good. We werenít even rushing up our slides.

Now all I have to do is work on catching up to all those people who have been improving while I was gone.

End of the rowing news.

Phelpsís stories about learning to play baseball from her dad made me think of my own father. Dadís a bit of a throwback to Archie Bunker, and, unfortunately, a bit proud of it. He didnít take it well when I dated a Filipino man in college. And, though he doesnít do it often, he still believes that in extreme cases (such as when your daughter is dating someone of another race or religion) a man should be able to put his foot down and draw the line in his own house. Once when I told him I had just needed to replace my car battery, he asked if T had done it for me (note to the mechanically uninclined: replacing a car battery is only slightly more difficult than replacing a calculator battery, though itís heavier and usually dirtier). I found that one especially annoying from my own parent: if I hadnít known how to replace a car battery, whose fault would it have been for not teaching me?

On the other hand, if he wasnít there much while I was growing up, it was because he was working long hours to support us. And he once told me, shortly before my wedding, that the day I was born was the happiest one of his life. (If the subtext was that itís been downhill ever since, I donít want to know about it.) Any mechanical or engineering ability I have comes from him, and I did learn how to paint and do some very basic wiring from him, as well as how to fly a kite (but not how to throw a ball, which I still donít do well).

Still, Dadís definitely got the view that some tasks are more suited to men than to women. Which is while I still think itís hilariously funny that he ended up with a daughter whoís an engineer and a son whoís a writer.

Posted by dichroic at April 6, 2001 09:31 AM
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