I left in a hurry. So fast the boathouse door didn’t get shut.
We sped off. Driving like a NASCAR pro. There was an emergency.
The next hours—days—were consumed with responding to the emergency. It was a week before I got back to the boathouse.
When I did, I thought a small tornado had landed. What a mess!
Part of that mess was what I left. The other part was equipment that got damaged. Crap…I had screwed up.
Let’s make sure my mistake doesn’t happen to you.
These past weeks have been more-than-bizarre. Taking care of your team. Scrubbing your hands relentlessly. Helping athletes transition—maybe moving out of their dorms. CFH (coaching from home). And canceling things…really important things.
Odds are, like me in the story above, your rowing equipment has NOT been a top priority. It’s okay Coach. Humans first, equipment last.
But here’s the rub…reality is setting in that we won’t be rowing for a while. How long? Dunno, but it won’t be wicked soon.
And most likely your equipment is aching for some immediate Love.
Time For Rowing Equipment Love
You probably have time to exhale (at least for today, until things change), and you might have time to sneak away and make sure your rowing equipment is safe.
You might not have much time to do this—of course you’re needed elsewhere—but you can sneak away.
So what exactly needs to get done?
Following is a list of 11 actions to take. Love to give if you will (and I’m using Love as a verb). Each action is designed to reduce damage now, so when rowing resumes your equipment is ready to go.
If you’re short on muscle some of them maybe difficult or impossible. Do what you can. Everything bit of Love helps.
A) Love Your Oars. The story is that the virus that causes COVID-19 can only live on surfaces a few days, and you probably won’t be rowing that soon—so why disinfect? Because other illness cause remain much longer, and a clean start is important.
B) Love Your Electronics. As you did with your oars, clean and disinfect your electronics (NK’s recommendations are here). Then unplug them. Batteries like to be charged, but constant charging when not in use can damage them. Store them in a safe place.
C) Wash Love Over Your Boat(s). Boats love to be clean. They really do. An old friend, who was a boatman for a significant college program, once told me that he talked to the boats (and they talked back). And one thing he said was, “A boat sings a happy tune when it is clean. And the cleaner it is, the faster it sings.” I believed him then, and even more so now.
Water, soap and elbow grease will do the trick. Rinse, and let air dry. Get all the little nooks and crannies…especially the tracks. If a boat is stored in direct sunlight, get a coat of wax on it. Here’s why.
CC) Quick Release Shoes Love. Personally, I’m a huge fan of quick release shoes. For many reasons. And one of those is that they are easy to clean. I just wrote about the here. Take them out, clean them and store safely. I prefer to store them on shelves, rather than in the boats.
D) Rack Love. I’ve written many times about my-boats-off-the-racks mishaps, so I won’t bring those up again. But they allow me to say with strong conviction that whether it’s for 2 minutes or 2 months, put your boats onto racks that are secure, safe, and proper. (Keeping a boat in slings is NOT proper storage!)
Which means the old wooden rack, with the arm held in place with two drywall screws…fix it right. (Yes Rob, I AM talking directly to you!)
E) Love That Apparel. Have uniforms, jackets, other clothing? It’ll need to be cleaned and stored properly. That takes time, energy, and often the ability to hold your breath for a lengthy period of time.
If you’re not exactly sure what cleaning action to take, find out first. I still have a white “pink” racing jersey from a set of them I washed wrong. Don’t do that. Read the label, ask a pro, or call the manufacturer. (Here are some recommendations.)
F) Launch Love. Don’t put off properly caring for your launches. Sure…tomorrow’s coming, and sure, I guess the launch can wait. But when do your tomorrow’s stop and you actually start giving your launches some Love? Way too many coaches (and I’m raising my hand here) put off until tomorrow what can be done with the launches today.
Cleaned. Stored. Gas treated. Get it done.
G) Safety Gear Love. Have a Kippy Kit? PFDs lying around? Make sure they are dry, and store them where they WILL stay dry, and the critters won’t make new homes in them.
H) Love Those Tools. Tools get abused—it’s okay Coach, they’re tough. But only to a point. They do require Love if you plan on them working well in the future. And they will grow legs and walk away. If you want your tools ready to go then make sure they are dry and safely stored.
I) Love That Indoor Rower. Probably…you have ergs. And probably…they could use a wee bit more Love. Here are my recommendations for proper indoor rower Love.
J) Now For Building Love. If you still have time: (1) sweep the floor, (2) turn off the lights, (3) shut off the water and put that hose away, and (4) before you leave make sure you lock up.
K) Budget Love. You budget is rowing equipment (that’s the way I look at it, at least). Let’s be kind to it. Have you canceled all your reservations? Asked for refunds for travel payments you’ve made?
The Bottom Line
If you invest a bit of time and give your rowing equipment Love right now, by making sure it’s clean and cared for and safe, you will save time, money, and reduce heartache tomorrow.
And here’s to hoping that you actually do start rowing tomorrow.