I'm a sucker for all kinds of fitness opportunities. Bring it on and I'll try it out. Right now, in fact, I'm feeling really guilty because I didn't get the chance to try out synchronized swimming when the sport's national governing body, USA Synchro, had its month-long promotion, USA Synchro de Mayo (which totally wins the award for an epic program title).
But I'm back in the swing of things, and I'm ready to try out the next big challenge: National Learn to Row Day, which takes place this Saturday, June 1. It is sponsored by US Rowing and Concept2, and will take place in rowing clubs and health clubs across the U.S.
I don't know about you, but I can't picture rowing without seeing the graphic galley slave scene from Ben-Hur ("Battle speed! Attack speed! Ramming speed!"). So of course, I am all kinds of jazzed about this opportunity. USRowing actually has a page on its website devoted to National Learn to Row Day. The page includes a way for people to get involved, find a rowing club near them or just learn some of the facts and terminology of rowing.
The site is easy to navigate and contains all kinds of information, including some fun facts under "Rowing 101." For example:• Coxswains from first-place boats worldwide are thrown into the water by their crews• Coxswains don't now and probably never did yell "Stroke! Stroke!"
Rowing on open water would be a kick, and I look forward to trying it, but for those who don't have access to a boat house, USRowing is hoping health clubs will tie into the promotion by introducing people to the rowing machine - hence, the tie-in with Concept2.
I'm actually a big fan of rowing machines; they're a tremendous workout and a lot of fun. At the same time, however, I've been treated to the sight of plenty of people using what have to be the worst techniques ever (the excessive-layback-facing-the-ceiling-pulling-the-bar-up-to-the-chin-finish, for example). So there's probably room for a little guidance in effective use. And hey, Concept2 even has a series of videos of how to - and how not to - row.
So when June 1 rolls around, I intend to be out on the water. If it's raining, you'll find me in the athletic club, rowing away. And one way or another, that scene from Ben-Hur is still going to be playing in my head.