Rowing - Crew - Word Association.


a somewhat obscure sport that has grown in popularity in recent years
in my youth... no high schools in the area\not even prep schools had rowing teams

Crew is Huge in the Mid-Atlantic
not only are my two sons avid rowers
a good number of my adult peers also have children that are high school rowers
the choices are not what they once were
there are more choices
Rowing is one of those Choices

not only do my boys row
my boys excel at rowing 

 as a proud poppa it is not uncommon to try and share my glee with other parents
yet... somehow my words fall on deaf ears

last week I had a great father\son moment when I went to the water practice with my camera
and was invited onto the coaches boat to snap some shots of the Wilson Varsity boats 
when trying to share this story the next day

as soon as I mentioned rowing...
the conversation was highjacked

my story of riding in the coaches boat and snapping some epic photos was ignored
there was no time for me to mention my son's fall college tour where he met with coaches and visited various schools
no... my story went untold
as the person I was talking to had to ask me an unrelated question
this person asked me if I had heard about the Whitman coach
to which I responded... yes... but really... I am not interested in the scandal
I am interested in rowing... and more specifically my son's rowing

yet somehow... this topic seemed relevant to this person
more relevant than my son's hard work and achievement

the Whitman Rowing Coach Scandal is not a rowing story
it is more of a story about an inappropriate male coach with a female team
that this happened locally
that this happened on a rowing team
neither of those things are really as important as the topic of my son's achievement

yet... rather than letting me share a story of my son's effort and achievement
I had to listen to the sidetracked story
then I was chastised for my claim "I did not read the article about the Whitman coach"
when really... the issue with the conversation was that this person did two things
Word Association and Controlling the Conversation back to him
this... after I had just sat and watched after this man scrolled through his phone showing me 15 photos of his dog... I love dogs... but my only response to those images was, "your children cry each time you show photos of your dog at a party"

now... anyone that knows me knows that I love my dog
I point my camera at my dog plenty
but never would I burden someone at a party with photos of my dog
unless they had asked
sure... I wanted to share some photos of my son rowing on the Potomac
photos that I snapped less than 24 hours prior
so... the topic was timely
and really
the night shots of the Monuments and such were so beautiful that anyone from the area would a second of pause and soak in the images

but alas no...
since rowing\crew is so unknown
people reach for the low hanging fruit

word association
tabloid news story
something unrelated
something unimportant to the real story

when I tried to speak... I was able to read my audience
my story was falling on deaf ears
there was no interest in my photo shoot or my photos
there was no interest in my story of the day prior
there was no interest in my son's effort or achievement
there was no interest in my son's signing to attend school at Boston University next fall and row as a Division I Athlete
no... somehow... 
this news story seemed more important

that said... this behavior is nothing new

it is my understanding that there are many people who like to talk
unfortunately... many good talkers are not good listeners
shamefully... I am one of those talkers
but I do try to be a good listener

years ago when my older son Dean was a rower at Wilson High School he and his team were having some solid success
if I were trying to talk about my son's effort at an Erg Event or his team going to the Rowing Nationals
well... so often the conversation would get highjacked

when my older son Dean got a Div I Scholarship to Syracuse University
people had to interject
rather than marvel at my son's effort and achievement
the listener would... rather than listen... but talk
the response was always the same
there would be a topic change to Laurie Laughlin and the school scholarship scandal
now... similar to the Whitman coach
I did not take the Laurie Laughlin story past the headlines
it was not a rowing story
yet... every person at every party had to deflect the story from what was important
to what they know... which was not really important

I have never seen Full House... I have no idea who Laurie Laughlin is
that is not a rowing story

sorry... it is Lori Loughlin
Lori Loughlin and Kirk Shipley
Kirk Shipley is the Whitman Rowing Coach under investigation

Google those names and get the juicy details of their non-rowing rowing stories
click on the video below and watch my older son Dean in the Stroke position work vigorously with his team mates to lay down the race they trained for
to win the SRAA Nationals!

What a great moment for each of those athletes!
years and years of work outs on and off the water
to peak at their high school career at the last race of their high school season
it was a beautiful effort
a moment that has absolutely nothing to do with whatever scandal story pops into your head when you hear the words rowing or crew

and yes... I have read "Boys in the Boat"
it is a beautiful story
that tangent is far more relevant than the tabloid stories that are really rowing adjacent and not really rowing stories

we all have two ears and one mouth
that is the ratio to which we should listen and we should talk

as said... I have a history of being the dominant talker in a party situation
yet I try
I think we all need to try
but here is a tip...
if someone is talking about their kid or their dog
do not deflect... do not change the subject... do not start talking about yourself or even your dog...
let them say their piece
then... hopefully you will get your turn next
or not

I love my dog...
I love my kids...

as popular as rowing is
rowing is really only popular to rowers
which is fine
that dynamic works...

check out this great shot of my son Dean before heading off to Prom a few years back!!!