October hails the end of the vacation and the start of term once again. A year older, a year wiser but somehow you find yourself back in a boat. Alien at first, it starts to flow back to you. Painfully, the summer fitness plan was not as regimented as the captain would have liked. But here you are, back with friends and back on the river.
Term flies by, outings and ergs. You see new faces around the boathouse. Innocent faces, bodies devoid of stash. It hits you: novices. You cast your mind back to your first ever outing, that disaster where you picked up the wrong side blade, cracked the person in front of you in the back an impolite number of times. The first taste which inspired you to keep going and become a rower. You talk to some of them, so keen and ready to give it their all. You tell stories of outings in the snow and embarrassment on crew dates. They laugh, it doesn’t put them off, you know they will make good additions to the boat club.
7th week draws closer and they are all talking about racing. Christ Church Novice Regatta. You remember it well, how sick with nerves you felt all morning and how ecstatic you were when you won your first race. Displays of fantastic novice rowing, a greater number of displays of shocking rowing. The odd spectacular collision.