It's Tuesday and I languidly relished the last day of summer vacation, sleeping in and avoiding summer homework as much as possible. However, I had crew practice this afternoon, so I still had to change out of my pj's and leave the house. A small disappointment but nothing I couldn't handle with a smile.
Today we had our first afternoon crew practice. Lately I have been practicing from 6:30 to 10:00 am, which is gorgeous but extremely tiring. Despite the bad conditions it was nice to sleep in.
Anyway, this was the first day we got to see almost the entire team, including all of the St. Mary's kids, and it was overwhelmingly crowded with young novice boys and a handful of novice girls. I sat down on the only stool and waited until our coach came, yelling at late-coming novices to get their act together in terrifying authority. After four full seasons with Carla, I've learned to really respect our coach. However, I could see where the novice's looks of horror came from. Her face still looks almost skull-like to me with her lack of noticeable eyebrows. Carla, although generally nice, is particularly scary when mad.
After our five minutes of quiet sitting, we were assigned boats. Of course, Rook and I were paired together in a double. We smiled at each other and got up to carry our boat down, excited for our row together. With experienced efficiency, we placed the Arianne on our shoulders, gathered our oars, and walked down to the lake drained of half its water.
We were the first on the water, and since our foot-stretchers were already adjusted to us we quickly began our workout. Breathing in, I called out my usual "half, half, half, ready ROW!" and we began our row through the stormy waters. (I'm in bow seat and Rook's in stroke, meaning she sits in front of me and I call the commands while she determines the tempo.)
Going upwind we were fairly unsteady, still finding the rhythm of the boat and fighting against the white-caps that crashed against our feathered oars. However, going downwind, we found a solid rhythm and bubbles rushed under our bow in each powerful stroke. Heading towards the dam, we took the stroke-rate up for twenty focused strokes of strong power.
Suddenly, just after our hard twenty strokes, this foot-long silver monster comes flying out of the water. As we are rowing, the fish hits Rook hard in the back and falls at my feet, flopping around until it plopped back into the water, all while I yell and scream out of surprise and amazement. We stop rowing and Rook turns around to look at me with wide eyes.
I laugh. "Let's just stop for moment to appreciate the fact that a fish just hit you in the back and fell at my feet."
"I thought you had slapped me in the back!" Rook laughed. "I was like getting mad at you, and then I realized we were still rowing and I turned around and there's this big fish! It hurt!" She inspected her reddened shoulder for a minute before pointing to two little white marks. "Look, it left scale marks!"
I leaned in to take a closer look, and, in fact, there were two little scales on her shoulder.
"Ah, now I smell like fish!" she moaned. I leaned in even closer, and, if fact, her shoulder smelled strongly of large silver fish.
The rest of the row I felt like Ahab on the hunt for Moby Dick, sailing the rough seas on the Pequod, spray from Rook's oars hitting me in the face like a great and terrible wave.
Anyway, after our row, as we climbed up the mountainous shore of the lake, I decided our row was legendary. It, indeed, was a legendary day.