Draw the finish hard

Draw the finish hard

Post by Alexander Lindsa » Sun, 17 May 2009 19:15:17


>>> Alexander,

>>> You make Hugh Robert Arthur Edwards come to life. Indeed you make me
>>> ache to know this flawed giant so beloved of his crews. What a wonderful
>>> description!

>>> You've got me thinking. It is easy to find flaws in giants. Everything
>>> about them is so visible. But, god knows, regard yourself lucky when you
>>> find one; for they are not that easily found and we who are not giants
>>> can hardly honor them as they deserve.

>>> What great good fortune was yours to have been coached by him! He seems
>>> to be still very much alive to you.

>>> Cordially,

>>> Charles

>> Yes indeed, a formative influence on my life.

>> One of his nicer legacies is that he coached at Oxford for about ten
>> years,
>> and everyone coached by him rows exactly the same way.  So we can put
>> together veteran crews and there are no problems, and no arguments.  We
>> all
>> just row his way.

>> It is also worth remembering that in those days coaches were "honorary".
>> He
>> did it all for love, and didn't get a penny in return.

>> Alexander

> One of many advantages of intelligent coaches of independent mind &
> unconventional habits, such as Jumbo Edwards, was that they dared to
> think, experiment &, where necessary, to disrupt orthodoxies.  Their
> non-conformity & success were an inspiration & a breath of fresh air.

> Such coaches are well worth paying, but it is easy to feel uneasy over
> today's growing expectation of being paid to coach where, not long ago,
> coaches freely gave back to the sport what had been given them for free.
> That a coach is paid does not always or necessarily make them ideal.

> Equally, some are dumbfounded by the scheme in the UK whereby, before you
> may coach, you must first spend ~GBP1400/US$2000 for a coaching course.
> How is that going down with clubs & volunteer coaches?

If it is enforced, I can see no future for the sport.  The authorities "know
not what they do".  Or at least I hope so.  If they do know, they should be


- Show quoted text -

> Finally, if coaching is so much better these days, why are so many young
> rowers apparently being injured & spat out of coached schemes, never to
> return?  Where are the follow-up studies to find what causes these
> problems & what can be done to reduce their incidence?  Why does rowing, a
> sport in many ways ideal for low-impact strengthening of physique &
> fitness, now seem to consider "wastage" of this kind a necessary &
> acceptable price for success?

> Carl

> --
> Carl Douglas Racing Shells        -
>     Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing Low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
> Write:   Harris Boatyard, Laleham Reach, Chertsey KT16 8RP, UK
> Find:    http://tinyurl.com/2tqujf

> URLs:  www.carldouglas.co.uk (boats) & www.aerowing.co.uk (riggers)


Draw the finish hard

Post by Alexander Lindsa » Sun, 17 May 2009 19:29:00

> Alexander,

> It may interest you to know that I finally found a copy of Hugh Robert
> Arthur Edwards' "The Way of a Man with a Blade." Not having known Mr.
> Edwards, it's hard for me to call him "Jumbo."

He would be gratified by that.  In the rowing world he was always "Jumbo",
but he was old-fashioned and took offence when strangers or the Press used
it.  To them he should have been "Group Captain Edwards."

In any event, I ordered it

> and Edmond Warre's "On the Grammar of Rowing." So I am on my way now to
> becoming educated.

To fill out your education try Textbook on Oarsmanship by G C Bourne. First
editions 1925 are expensive, but the 1987 reprint is very cheap.  Both
listed by Abebooks.

And of course anything by Steve Fairbairn, but don't take him seriously!


> I once heard the venerable Stringfellow Barr tell a story. He had been
> asked to give a lecture at a college here in the States back in the mid
> 1960s. I think it was Amherst or Williams, something like that. The next
> afternoon he was in the quad, where he found a couple of students talking.
> The professor, who was his guide, introduced everyone. Barr always used
> the same gambit when he was introduced to students. He simply asked what
> they were reading.

> After a bit of embarrassment one of the students boldly asserted that he
> and his colleagues really didn't read much these days. Campus life was so
> stimulating, he explained. It is the sixties. Great conversations were
> happening everywhere. The world was changing. Life was real. Life
> certainly wasn't to be found in books. It was to be found in friendship
> and conversation.

> Barr, the elderly historian, immediately agreed. Nothing is more
> important, more human, he said, than real friendship and conversation.

> The students smiled. In this brave new world of the sixties books had
> become pass and largely irrelevant. And this old man understood!

> Yes, Barr said, but I have a problem. Some of my best friends lived two
> thousand years ago. And how can I converse with them, how can I know what
> they thought was bad or good, and what they felt, and what they loved and
> hated, and what they dreamed and aspired to achieve, except through their
> books?

> Anyway, maybe I'll be able to start something of a conversation with Mr.
> Edwards.

> Cordially,

> Charles

Enjoy your reading!