Rowing’s True Soul

Yesterday, the World Rowing Championships ended in Bled. Whether a favorite boat or crew took a gold, silver, or bronze medal, or maybe totally missed to get to the A-final, or even failed to qualify for next year’s Olympic rowing in Great Britain, at times the whole entire event could turn a little hyper. Following some of the top athletes from a distance, their success or failure, I have to confess that I felt that the roots of rowing felt far away.

Earlier this year FISA, the International Rowing Federation, launched a new brand identity: “The Soul of Rowing”, and doing so also redesigned the organisation’s website and adding a short video to promote its new “brand”. Rowing is now “about the human spirit”, it is said, and the sport of rowing is like a Far East art. For the visitors to the FISA website, there is even a text explaining what we are watching, probably because otherwise we would not understand what on earth is the meaning of this nonsense. I am sorry FISA, but you have been had by the agency you hired to “renew” yourselves. To view the gobbledygook, see above.

So back to the roots of rowing. Enter Mr. Bob Egle! I had no idea whom Mr. Egle was until I happened to stumble over his film “Rowing – A Digital Short” on YouTube where I was looking for a rowing clip. Now, here is a fellow, who does not know anything about your sport, but sees the local school, Upper Arlington High School Rowing Team (in OH) on the river, and, in an attempt to understand the sport, makes a film about the school’s rowing team. He puts some young rowers, boys and girls, in front of the camera and allows them to talk about our sport. Listen to what they are saying, words like: team work, camaraderie, power, trust in team mates, nervous, cruelest sport, tension, hardest sport, awesome feeling, food, FUN……

Listen, yes, but also watch how these young people’s faces shine when they talk about rowing. I think this little film is lovely as it explains what our sport is truly about. This film made me want to go out on the river right away to feel how the shell is running underneath me, and I can imagining what the film can do to get other young girls and boys to take up rowing.

Well done, Bob Egle & and the rowers at Upper Arlington High School. FISA – watch and learn!

Bob Egle’s film is here below:

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