To Be, Or Not To Be… A Blogger

Against better judgment I have become a blogger.

If you would have told me a couple of months ago that I would start a blog, I would have called you insane, a liar, or something even worse. But things can change in life.

After my contract as boating coordinator for one of the local rowing clubs along the Mystic River came to an end, and with that, my responsibility to write and edit the club’s newsletter, I was without a continuing forum to write about rowing and its rich history. One of my rowing friends (I do hope he allows me to call him that), Tom Sanford, a true gentleman of the old rowing breed, sent me a very kind e-mail saying that he would miss my writing on rowing and was there no other way that I could continue…

Well, I wish I could say that there was a heap of newspapers and magazines in line begging me to write for them about rowing – but there is not. If it had not been that Per Ekström, the Editor-in-Chief for the Swedish rowing magazine Svensk Rodd, is a very dear friend of mine, I would probably not be asked to contribute to that quarterly publication either.

And let us face it, how many rowing periodicals are there around these days? There is the Rowing News (formerly Independent Rowing News) in New Hampshire and ARA’s Rowing & Regatta in England, and Rachel Quarrell’s and Chris Dodd’s eminent online Rowing Voice, but that is more or less it. Even the New York Times stopped publishing their small notes on rowing news in the sport section a couple of years ago – not that I ever wrote for that newspaper, though.

For a couple of years, I had some small articles and reviews on rowing books published in the beautiful Maritime Life and Traditions, which was a magnificent American/British magazine that ceased to be in 2006. Before that I had been a regular contributor for a newspaper in Sweden whose culture editor allowed me to write whatever I wanted for his pages. Of course I took the opportunity to write about all kinds of different aspects of rowing as a culture phenomenon: there were articles about Thomas Eakins’s paintings showing the professional rowers, the Biglin brothers; James Tissot’s lovely painting depicting his mistress Kathleen Newton in On the Thames, (also known as Return from Henley); the Swedish author Frans G. Bengtsson’s Viking novel The Long Ship, which has some humorous rowing segments; the opening of the River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames, etc.

By the way, that paper also went down the pipes. I sincerely hope that these publications’ failings had nothing to do with my writing…

So, when I had not been writing for a week or two, and got rather grumpy, my dear wife, who is a blogger par excellence, gave me the idea that I would maybe like to start a blog on rowing history, and well, here I am blogging away, although, I should know better…

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