Friday, September 26, 2014

Just Another Day

Vancouver Rowing Club - photo by Junie Quiroga
On the shores of Coal Harbour, with Stanley Park in the background, stands the clubhouse of the Vancouver Rowing Club, a 103 year old heritage jewel, though not quite as old as the actual club itself which has existed since 1886 when the City of Vancouver also came into being.  The Vancouver Rowing Club consists of four distinct sections; rowing, rugby, field hockey, and yachting, for which Crown Jewel and myself are eternally grateful. Far from being a stuffy, private club for only the privileged few, the VRC is open to anyone who wishes to join, even if only as a social member.

Crown Jewel in her slip at the VRC - photo by Junie Quiroga
There's another sub-group of the yachting section which doesn't pay any dues but feels quite entitled to make use of the docks for their own amusement and it includes otters, raccoons and seals.  For the most part they are well behaved, unlike other members who frequently have too much to drink at the Club's many social events, but then again if they happen to get into your boat it's a different story. All in all though the members of the different sections get along quite well with one another.

Seals on the VRC dock - photo by Junie Quiroga
At the end of summer each year the Club organizes a fun competition between the yachting, rugby and field hockey sections with the rowing section offering everyone a crash course in rowing, or "sweeping" as it is referred to since each person has both hands on only one oar. Getting the right rhythm of legs, arms, and back takes more than a little concentration and, when you combine that with trying to coordinate each stroke with seven other novices, the physical effort gets quite intense. It's all good fun though and, surprisingly, these fragile shells seem to keep their balance in the water with nobody ever getting wet.

2014 Yachting Section Team - photo by Joseph Blackburn
In the past the rowing section has produced some award winning medallists in both the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.  Like any sport it requires many hours of dedication and commitment to be successful but there's something to be said for the grace and tranquillity it seems to offer once you get it right, and plenty of folks strolling the seawall watching the rowers practise are inspired to take advantage of the "Learn To Row" program offered by the Club. The VRC may yet produce another Olympian someday but, to old "Coach" who watches the daily antics of everyone trying to master the technique, it's just another day.

Coach - photo by Junie Quiroga