Some athletes are more dedicated to practice than to competition. The famous golfer Ben Hogan, it is said, preferred the driving range to the golf course. The musician Prince, reviewed tapes of his live performances because he said, "I want to beat that guy, right there," as he pointed to himself on a television screen. Some refuse to enter a race they know they cannot win.
But for most competitors, the only true measure of satisfaction comes when you test your skills against someone who has been practicing as hard as you. Only through competition can you know how good you are.
The first test of the season for the Trinity men's rowing team came on a Saturday morning in February in a scrimmage with rowers from the University of Massachusetts. It was a good workout and a good test for two evenly matched teams.
It was a test of strength and strategy. Before and during the races, rowers in all four boats sized up their opponents. Looking for weakness and fearing superiority from the other side masked by game faces.
A few weeks later, Trinity took part in its first official competition of the spring season on the Charles River in Boston. The capital for rowing on the east coast.
As Trinity put in, they were surrounded by college rowers of the past, who now row single and two-man skiffs on the weekends up and down the river, in the shadow of the Boston skyline. No matter how well any team trained for this first race, they were all just another set of rowers at this spot on this river.
Trinity's two top boats finished third in races against the Harvard Lights, Boston College and Bates. Coach MacDermott reported back to the school that it was a good showing considering the strength of the other teams and the number of under-classmen rowing for Trinity this season.
© Dean Pagani 2019