From early September, the days seem to be still sleeping when you wake up. The first few rays of sunlight herald a new day and new life into the coffee-aroma-filled room. But not today. Just as the weather forecast had predicted, it had rained in the night and the sky was leaden. Forecasts are rarely wrong these days! Even after sipping my coffee, the semi-darkness of the grey morning remains. Not too different from my mood.
I face the window and look out. I try to hold on the hope that the distant break in the clouds has cut through the dense nebulous gloom, heavy with rain. Will the weather change? In a few hours? Maybe. But we can’t hang around. Morning training is looming. We have to be moving by 8.
Finishing is the thing
I drive across the bridge to get to the seafront at Bari. The dark, turbulent waves of the sea are uninviting. It’s rougher than we could have imagined, inspiring respect. Since the end of June, the heat and colours of summer have framed our training. Today, the tones and temperature seem to signal the colder months. We leave the changing room in silence. Continue reading →
A few days ago, the President of the Italian Rowing Coach Association, Maurizio Ustolin, invited me to write an article about my rowing. On the surface, a simple request. And then, after some thought, I realised it was not so simple at all.
I realised that he didn’t mean a technical ‘approach’, far too easy. But a reflection of ‘what’ rowing has meant to me. What it has ‘given me’. Describing this is not so straight forward, because for me, rowing is not a ‘memory’, it was and is ‘my life’. To describe only some aspects would be to over-simplify it.
I began rowing in 1963, when I was 17. Convinced by my school friend, Gianpiero Galeazzi, to give this adventure a try, I left behind basketball and athletics. I’d been doing them more out of amusement than for the love of them. ‘My’ sport took a forceful hold of my already structured adult life. It started as an ‘add-on’ but became everything in time – even becoming my professional life. But that’s another story. We ‘racing members’ entered the club by the side door, the workman’s entrance. We weren’t allowed to Keep on reading!
I clearly remember the first time I sat on the rowing ergo. It was Monday 1st September 2014. And we all know a Monday is the perfect day to start something new.
Until that point, nobody had told me creation was divided into two broad categories. I used to distinguish people just by being male or female, unaware of the world being split into two by a simple set of scales!
The unbearable lightness of being
Before I encountered Indoor Rowing, my life was made up of drinking, bars, pizza, all-you-can-eatrestaurants and of “pour me another” … Continue reading →
The minibus. A confined, restricted space. A meeting place of bodies and souls that generates an atmosphere like no other – it pervades all the senses. And smell more than any other. Removing yourself from its spell is difficult for young rowers looking forward with trepidation to their minibus trip. These days, journeys are marked by fingers moving across touch screens. But years ago they moved across guitar chords with the rest of the group singing songs about blond-haired, blue-eyed beauties and the like. It was also a chance to spend time with the driver. The man the rowing club had entrusted with their hopes, rowers and boats, in driving them to the regatta.
In my club, as in many others, this chap was almost always the coach. There were few resources available, and these men had so much enthusiasm and made so many sacrifices for our beloved sport. Back then, travelling in the minibus Continue reading →