Tuesday, June 02, 2015

25th Anniversary of the Most Important Event Ever, Part 1

Went down to Oxford to watch Eights - which is college bumps racing.

This is how it works. In each division, a string of 12 boats is lined up, each boat a length and a half apart. Then there is a loud bang,
after which each boat rows as hard as possible and tries to hit the one in front before they get hit by the one behind.

A lot of the action happens in the first couple of minutes. St Hughs demonstrate how to do it to Osler House.

At the top of the top divisions (men and women row in different races) the boats are often quite good and, being more evenly matched, are unable to catch each other in the 5 minute race. Here are the top wimmins boats, near the end of the race with Pembroke gaining on but unable to catch Wadham. So, getting to be the top boat is quite difficult.

But, if, at the end of the 4 days of doing all this, your boat is top of the first division then you are "Head of the River" and entitled to a great sense of entitlement. woo hoo. 

For some the rowing is not the primary goal of the week.

We were there because of this:

Yes - 25 years since James and friends went Head of the River (woo hoo).

There were free drinks at University College boathouse with a lot of lovely tall men only some of whom elbowed me in the eyes.

You see, in rowing, size does matter (well, more specifically, length). The current Univ crew are still in the first division, but are very little; about the size of the cox of the boat that James rowed in. Parties aside, they have no chance of regaining the headship until the admissions tutor agrees to once again include height as one of the entrance requirements for the college. Meanwhile, my college, Queen's, over the road from Univ, was always more interested in kick ball and seems to have remained true to that cause. They are somewhere in the Nth division, but actually they didn't look too bad, and although also rather little went up quite a lot this year. Here they are:

The real advantage of Queen's relative disinterest in rowing is that guest rooms in college are available during Eights week, 
which enabled James to attend the boat club dinner, for me to join him for after dinner Pimms, and for us both to stagger over the road to Queen's before we turned into pumpkins at midnight.

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