Sports Lessons for Plebeians: Crew

Written by  //  June 21, 2012  //  Croquet and Other Lesser Sports, The Field  //  No comments

Because We Like to Give Back


I know that many of you – through no fault of your own – were raised in homes in which your parents primary means of income was asking if patrons would like to have their greasy fare slathered in cheese. As such, you were brought up to believe that sports are a past-time comprised entirely of tattooed men mauling each other for control of a leather ball as your brood sat on your “sofa” or “couch” (or “trough”) stuffing your maws with the finest in deep-fried Bar-B-Que cheese-filled eXtreme fare.

Such is not the case. There are many recreational sports of strength, agility, stamina, endurance, and physical prowess that are far more erudite and refined, and require far less slapping of men on their rumps. We wish to educate you on some of these activities with the hope that it might inspire you to lay aside your befouled jerseys and perhaps seek a diversion of a more civil nature.

Prior to embarking on this journey, there will be a few terms you will be required to comprehend. To aid in this, we have given you a glossary complete with colloquial translations:

Some of you might already be familiar with the term, but for those of you that are not, Crew is a sport similar to rowing. It was somewhat popularized in the film The Social Network by the Winklevoss twins. The way in which Crew differentiates itself from rowing is that it is done by young competitors on a team, rather than aged men in flannel shirts that intend on “goin’ down to  the old fishin’ hole.” The other difference is that at no point do the fine men (or women) on a Crew team fill their shell with a twelve pack of Miller tall boys. It is also not done by a slave and a boy named Huck on the Mississippi River.

Crew takes place in what is known as a shell. That is the “boatie thing” that the teams sit in to row. They are accompanied by a team captain known as a coxswain, a term you will no doubt laugh at to no end. Go ahead; call in your slack-jawed offspring so that you two might guffaw mightily until your Beefaroni has finished heating.

The Coxswain is responsible for steering the shell as well as aiding in establishing the rhythm of the rowing team. If you happened to have stumbled upon a Crew match – perhaps as you ingested funnel cake at some county fair – you would recognize him as the person with the megaphone that yelled as eight preppy guys rowed down the river.

Crew requires immense core strength, stamina, and physical fitness. It is one of the oldest Olympic sports and true gentlemen use eight rowers and a coxswain, though other variations are available including time trials, casual, and even its lesser cousin – sculling – of which you are no doubt aware.

I jest; I know you don’t know what sculling is either.

About the Author

M. W. Byrne

M. W. Byrne would describe himself as a gentleman criminal. Born to the infamous nouveau riche Günther family, much of his adult life has been spent in and out of the department of corrections for a wide array of infractions from petty theft, mayhem, arson, and impersonating a member of the clergy.

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