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The Don, the Survivor, and the Coach.

“Anybody who had even the slightest contact with Gandolfini will testify to what a great guy he was, how full of life he was…whether he was feeling well or poorly, or living smartly or stupidly, there was always something about the guy that you wanted to embrace. You could feel it shining through the screen, that warmth and vulnerability, that broken yet still-hopeful humanness.” James Gandolifni, 1961-2013.

“‘I hate the word horror,’ the author told fantasy editor and writer Stanley Wiater for the 2009 video doc Dark Dreamers. “To me, the word horror is visceral. Terror hits you in the mind. You don’t have to show anything to scare a lot of people.’ Just the wail of an invisible child, or the face of a furry gremlin…on the wing of a Twilight Zone plane.” Richard Matheson, 1926-2013. For the next generation of kids to be touched by Richard Matheson’s stories, what nightmares await! What dreams may come!

“‘He was the most successful coach of the 1960s, and it could be said he still was in the 2000s,’ Caldwell said. ‘His ability to be successful at the same place over such a long period is unparalleled.'” Harry Parker, 1935-2013.“‘It really is like God died and nobody knows what anything means now, because Harry was the sport,’ said Bruce Smith, executive director of Community Rowing.”

Secrets of the HVL.

“If your catch needs work, both Ms. Guerette and Mr. Butt suggested practicing putting your blades in and out of the water while sitting in the catch position at full compression (legs bent, chest nearly touching thighs, arms extended). Ms. Guerette recommended doing this drill in shallow water, since there’s a chance you could fall into the drink.” By way of several ex-rower friends: In the NYT, Charley Butt (my former HVL coach) and one of his current proteges, Olympian Michelle Guerette, offer pointers on how to improve your stroke, and sum up how I spent a good bit of time in college. (See also the accompanying slideshow and video.)

Resting on (and Resetting) Past Laurels.

So, I noticed last night that my old GitM coxing columns at Rowersworld, written a decade ago, had at some point disappeared into the midnight realm of the 404, and that my writings page was thus featuring tons of dead links. But, with the aid of the trusty Wayback Machine, I was able to recreate them again here, where they can reside until this entire site falls into its inevitable disrepair. I’m not sure very many of my regular readers are of the rowing persuasion (anymore). Still, in case y’all are interested, the articles are back up.

Also, while searching for the lost articles, I found this essay on how to throw your coxswain correctly, which references the pic above. Just to clarify, I have “a blissful smile” on my face mostly because we won, yes, but also because I’m fully aware it’s early May in Massachusetts, and the waters of Lake Quinsigamond won’t immediately close down my bodily systems. Getting tossed at Dartmouth in early April is considerably less blissful.

Oarsmen of the Caribbean.

Back as of Monday from the Dominican Republic, where I enjoyed a crew reunion weekend in lovely Cabarete, a friendly backpacker-going-on-tourist town rife with European ex-pats and kitesurfing experts. With the local reputation in mind, we spent much of the weekend taking kitesurf lessons at Extreme Cabarete (kitesurfing, skate park…that’s extreme in the Harold & Kumar sense), enjoying sun, surf, food, drink, and the rather underwhelming De La Hoya-Mayerweather fight at the many restaurants and nightclubs along the beach, taking in more of the local flavor in neighboring Sosua, and staying up into the wee hours at our hotel, the (highly-recommended) Cabarete East, indulging in marathon sessions of competitive backgammon. (Yep, that’s how we roll.) All in all, a very fun trip…although unfortunately a sore throat I brought with me to the island on Thursday had metamorphosed into a full-blown virulent cold by Sunday, and I’ve been waylaid in bed the past few days trying to recuperate. I must say, it’s more fun to feel sick under the Caribbean sun.

Re-U in the DR.

Yes, so it’s been quiet around here again — the usual reasons. And, what with the GOP debate this evening and
Spiderman 3 on Friday, there’s much to discuss in and around here in short order. But, sadly, GitM is likely off again until early next week, as in a few short hours I’ll be flying down to Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic, for a travel-reunion with old-friends. Y’see, it was ten years ago this weekend that my lightweight crew boat, though derided in the early standings, won the National Championship, and thus we’ve all decided to congregate and commemorate the occasion in grand style. (This also means my ten-year college reunion is in a month…my, time flies.) So, at any rate, I’m off to escape the dustbin of history for a bit and go enjoy the sights, sounds, and shores of the DR. Have a good weekend and a safe, happy, and memorable Cinco de Mayo. (And, while Tony Soprano may be correct in noting that “‘Remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation,” I have to say, back then, we were pretty darned fast.)

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