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The Dartmouth
May 18, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Rec League Legends

First off, on a serious note, Austin and I extend our sincere thanks and gratitude for all of those brave men and women who have and continue to defend our country. Without these heroes, funny (or not so funny) articles such as this one, and the free speech that we are blessed with in this country, would not be possible. Take time this week to thank someone you know who has served in the Armed Forces, whether it’s a friend, family member or classmate.

This week, Austin and I were feeling particularly in shape. How’s that, you ask? Well, it is getting to be the end of the term and our workload is growing, so we are going out less (with the exception of formals of course) and working out more, which means we are trudging up and down from Novack to fourth floor Berry a ton. So, what sport did we choose to take on this week, after our mental struggle against the chess team last time? We decided on rowing (or erg-ing to be specific), a sport that didn’t require us going outside and one that also had a willing challenger: Jack Heise ’14, a member of the heavyweight crew team with seven years of experience.

Austin and I were fairly confident going into this challenge, as rowing requires no coordination (or so we thought) and practically everyone does it — or correction, has done it — and by that we mean walked on freshman year for a few weeks. So, to prepare for the challenge, we basically jogged the stairs up the library a few times and watched “The Social Network,” hoping that we would look as graceful on the ergs as the Winklevoss twins.

With that, we met Heise in Alumni Gym, our home turf, and we could tell that he was immediately out of his comfort zone. He started talking about the ergs being “past their prime” and decided to have Austin and I row on the two in reasonable condition first, and then he would row on one of them after we had finished. We know that game, Heise: you just wanted to size up your competitors. For the competition we decided on what Heise called a sprint: a 500-meter dash that would take under two minutes for a member of the crew team. First off, something ceases to be a “sprint” when it takes more than one minute. Secondly, the crew team would take on 10 or so of these “sprints” in quick succession, but we decided one would suffice.

After a brief introduction to erg-ing, Austin and I lined up at the starting line. Heise did the obligatory countdown, and we were off. And by off, I mean I was off the starting blocks, pumping away as hard as I could, while Austin was off his seat, literally (he fell off his seat on the first pull). Rough start, but as Legends we are getting a bit used to those, and he was able to recover without much time lost.

My erg quickly began slipping forward from the get go, and at the 250-meter mark I heard a spectator (no big deal, but we draw a crowd these days) remark, “Looks like he is trying to row down the Connecticut.” Not sure if that was because of my superb rowing skills or the fact that my “stationary” erg had moved about 10 feet. Likely the latter. Austin had that problem as well, but to a lesser degree. It got so bad for me that with about 100 meters to go, my erg finally hit the elliptical in front of it, having moved 15 feet or so while I rowed. But I couldn’t stop and cost the Legends precious seconds, so I kept on as more onlookers were drawn over wondering what that banging noise could be. We finished and, after the dust had settled, I registered a 1:38.7, and Austin had registered something higher than that. Then, it was Heise’s turn.

He stepped up, and before Austin and I could even start a conversation about how we never wanted to relive that couple of minutes, Heise was stepping off the erg, registering a time of 1:29.7. Seeing this, I was pretty pumped, as I was only nine seconds off the pace of a varsity rower. But I had no context for this near win, so we asked Heise to explain, and it wasn’t pretty.

Typically, 6,000-meter races are won by a couple of boat lengths, and 2,000-meter sprints are won by a few seats. Since we had competed in a 500-meter sprint, the margin of victory would be expected to be around half a seat (a foot or two for the rest of us). At about four seconds a boat length, I had lost to Heise by more than two boat lengths on a 500-meter race, which was not as great as I first thought.

So, it was a tough go of it when the cards seemed stacked in our favor, but hey, the Heat lost to the Celtics last night and no one is counting them out yet. Since Austin and myself are basically as warm as the Heat, we also shouldn’t be counted out, and we look to rebound next week.