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Friday, January 30, 2015

Would You Please Get in the Darn Van, Mrs. Lo!

By the time this Blog is posted, at 6:30 am, I will be in a non-descript White Van with 2 Coaches and a dozen rowers.  It must be crew season.  Well, almost.

Talk about two worlds colliding.  The coaches and I will be taking a total of 32 athletes from the Newburgh Rowing Club down to the Ironman Erg Classic, an indoor rowing regatta which just so happens to be held at my son’s private Catholic high school, Don Bosco Prep HS in Ramsey, NJ.
            A few hours later, Anthony will be departing Newburgh to bring Christian, our oldest, to Track Practice at Don Bosco.  Presumably, Christian will eventually make his way from the track to the gym where the giant indoor rowing meet will be held.  This time two years ago, he was rowing in the Newburgh indoor meet.
            God Bless the organizers of the Ironman Erg Classic.  Having been only somewhat involved in the Newburgh Rowing Club’s hosting of a large indoor rowing meet (OK, I made granola and sold 50/50 tickets, we could say I was marginally involved) all I can say it is a HUGE production.  In a small space.  Think of taking the Broadway cast of Lion King and producing it at Starbucks.  The organizers hook up indoor rowing machines (ergometers) to computers and score each athlete’s time as they “row” against their competitors.
            Then there’s the Joy of the 2K.  What can I say?  If you have not done a 2K with a certified rowing coach, there really is no other frame of reference in sport.  We have athletes who have taken some pretty ferocious hits in football, hockey and rugby.  When asked which is worse, getting your bell rung  -- or doing a 2K, they invariably say: “Hmm, that’s a tough question, let me think about it.”  Here’s a description of a 2K from Urban Dictionary:
The most painful and stressful period of minutes where a rower places oneself on the erg and is determined to finish in the lowest time possible. A rower pulls the distance of 2000 kilometers, hence the name 2k.Extreme amounts of water must be consumed before the painful experience to hydrate the muscles. Talk about lactic acid, your body is full of it and crying out for help. During this time period, you will cry, scream, sweat, and be full of pain. However, the dreaded 2k may determine your seating position, so there is no time for slacking.
COACH: we will have a 2k test on Friday” 
So, there will be crying, there will be pain, maybe there will be medals, maybe not.  We are the Newburgh Rowing Club and we do not go for the medals.  We go to test ourselves, to prove to ourselves we can do it, to challenge ourselves. 
          Hats off to the Don Bosco coaches and parents who are putting on this meet.  Big props to all the rowers competing today, wherever they are from, it is a big challenge and something to be proud of.  I’m especially proud of the Newburgh rowers and, of course, my Student Ambassadors.  For those who don’t know, the Student Ambassadors are the athletes who row for the Newburgh Rowing Club on scholarship, through America Rows and Swims Newburgh, a not for profit of which I am the Director.  We have a lot of youngsters who are rowing in an indoor regatta for the first time, some kids who have never left Newburgh before, it will be overwhelming for many.
          It has been 4 years since I took my first group of Student Ambassadors to their first indoor rowing meet.  One of them, Kelvin, will be in his 4th meet with us.  This program has been my Life for the past 4 years, I have personally funded the original program, paid for many regatta “road trips”, and founded and capitalized the not for profit America Rows and Swims Newburgh.   We have taught hundreds of kids to swim, for free, and scholarshiped almost 100 athletes in rowing and kayak programs.  As all my readers know, I just love these kids and this program, it is the most satisfying thing I have ever done.
          And as I teach the kids, no matter how little they may have, they must always give back.  That’s why Sunday, we are participating in the Souper Bowl of Caring.  Along with the Goldbacks YFL athletes, we will be outside of Shop Rite in Newburgh all day, collecting cans and coins for the Newburgh Salvation Army.  Because giving back is its own reward.
          With that said, I think I hear Big Coach calling with his melodious voice:  “Mrs. Lo, will you get off that computer thing and Get in the Darn Van!”  Off to Bosco, wish us luck!  Go Newburgh!
          Have a great day, everyone and, as always, remember to Count Your Blessings!  <3 Mrs. Lo
          For more of the Mrs. Lo Blog, visit www.LoBiondo.org