What can a rower possibly learn from Legoland?
Last week our family traveled to Legoland in Southern California. We had a blast.
On the drive back to the hotel from the park I was trying to gather why I had such a great time. I’ve been to many different theme parks (a few of the top 10) and this was different. It was really enjoyable . . . fun . . . honest-to-goodness-fun. And typical me, I was trying to figure it out when it dawned on me that not only was Legoland a lot like rowing, but rowers could learn several things from the brick oriented theme park.
Now if you’ve never spent hours playing with the plastic bricks (or have stepped on one in the middle of the night) you might find that statement a stretch. And it might be—but the similarities between Legoland and rowing are striking. So with that thought thrown out here are a few things (secrets mind you) that a rower might possibly learn from Legoland.
Buck The Trend
Most theme parks today are built around one concept—making money. Nothing bad there but Legoland bucks that trend. As I walked around, and watched the expression on the faces of kids and parents I saw time again the look of, “Man, I am here. This is THE PLACE.”
People weren’t flipping out over one hyped-up roller coaster, or some wild water slide. They were jazzed because they were at the LAND. The place of Legos. Yes, Mickey is cool, but there is something about the relationship a kid can have with Legos—hours of thoughtful pursuit of building something.
Another way they buck the trend is you allowing you to bring food into the park. What?
Yes, you bring your food in, and if you need more we have it. But we are not going to starve you and then make you spend an obscene amount to money just to eat.
This was really critical to us since our youngest has food allergies. Yup, bring that food right in. Unheard of at some of the major parks.
One other trend breaker was that they actually have rides that require people to work. Riders often had to pump or pedal or push to get a ride to move. We got done the Fire Academy race and I was huffing. I saw kids get off the Kid Power Races totally winded. And Splash Battle, where you can soak others, is cool, but you have to work really hard to get the water cannons to spray. No work, no spray.
- So What Secret Can A Rower Learn: Be different, buck the trend. It can be cool.
You Have Permission
When we walked (or run as our kids did) into Legoland there was an unspoken rule that just floated out there. It went like this,“You Have Our Permission To Be Passionate.” Legos are a passion. They are not just a toy, to many they are the toy. The escape. The imagination fire-upper. I see that look so often in rowers. Ask 100 rowers why they row and a great number respond “I don’t know why, but I just love it” That is how so many kids are with Legos.
LegoLand is built around that passion. There are tables where anyone can sit down and build. At least half the builders I saw were adults. And they were not just fumbling, they were building.
I saw an American mom lean over and help an elderly Japanese tourist finish a car. They didn’t speak the same language, but they had the same passion. I saw parents who you could tell did not have the Lego Bug give their child all the time she wanted to hang out with the life size Lego stature of Darth Vader. In Legoland it was truly okay to be hog-wild crazy over something.
- So What Secret Can A Rower Learn: If you love rowing—love it. Be passionate. Others may not understand it, but many will respect it.
Watch What Happens When Like-Minded Brains Get Together
Opening in 1999, Legoland is not one of the most popular theme parks in the country (by pure attendance numbers) but it certainly is one of the most creative. Look no further that Miniland for proof. It includes reproductions of seven areas in the US, built with over 40 million bricks (in 1:20 scale). The cities come alive with moving boats and vehicles. The reproduction of San Francisco is crazy. And pre-Katrina New Orleans is great.
- So What Secret Can A Rower Learn: You have the power to make something really cool out of what you’ve got.
You Are Involved In Something Big
The lowdown—Disneyland is big. The surprise—Legoland is bigger. I’m taking acreage here.
- 128 acres for Legoland compared to 85 acres Disney
But still, bigger is bigger. What about your rowing? If you aren’t the fastest, is there something else you are the best at. Speed (like attendance) really isn’t everything.
Finally, Legoland is fun. Everywhere we turned people were having fun. And not just the tourist like us. The majority of the workers were meet were smiling, engaged, and really seem to be enjoying themselves. Not the typical burned-out theme park worker.
I talked to a few workers and they were very positive about what they were doing, and why. One gal even noted that she just loved seeing the glint in the kids eyes. It was hard work, but they were having fun.
- So What Secret Can A Rower Learn: Simple—Have fun. It makes it all worthwhile.