Today was the Head of the Harbor, and the end of the Fall racing season. Today’s Aztecs did “well” – much better than in recent times – but, nothing like what happened much of the time in your days. One step at a time, little-by-little, things are changing. Here is my “report” to you – I hope that as I spend time couching things for you, I don’t come off as making up excuses. We have a long way to go …….. but I wish to pass along the fact that we are moving, once again, ‘UP.’ My mantra to myself now, when I or we don’t live up to my expectations, is to remember the axiom = “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
I think that it is safe to say that this Fall was “successful” in that a couple of important corners were turned. The team was doubled in size, for one thing, and the Varsity – which now does not have to add beginners into its boats every other day – is improving along with the Novices. More to do, of course = lots, really. But some important changes are occurring in tone and level of expectation ……… and, overall, the culture is beginning to feel the impact of you guys being around (Aaron Polllock came to the races again = he has been at every, single event this Fall = Eric Barge and Scott Dillard were there with coaching support and our Aztec Tent, food, and water – as always!!!!!!) and of the new equipment.
Our Varsity Lt. 4 had nobody to race in its classification, and so they raced heavyweights. They rowed reasonably cleanly and did not come in last …….. but were just overwhelmed by the size problem (they are very, very small – even for lightweights – they are positively tiny). The Varsity 8 had a row that was not bad at all. This might sound odd to you, but instead of being a minute behind at the end (last year’s experience), they were just a couple of lengths off the back.
The Lightweight Novices were let down when both USC and UCLA’s coaches pulled their crews from the race = this would have been their chance to race against “pure novices.” Instead, the championship NARC crew was put out there (and spanked us – to be sure) and Coast (yes – Orange Coast is now entering into the fray in lightweight rowing) put in a preppie crew. We actually did pretty well to hold onto the experienced Coast crew until the last 1K!
The 2nd Novice 8 came in 3rd (behind Coast – duh – and Irvine, which is now just about the deepest club team in SoCal), defeating USC, UCLA, and UCSB. The 1st Novice 8 also came in behind Coast and Irvine – too – and trailed USC (again – preppies involved here). They defeated UCLA, UCSB, and LBSU. (We found out later that both UCLA nd UCSB had about a half a boat of preppies each).
The world certainly has changed, with all of these experienced freshmen rowing for so many teams (both of the crews in our town – USD and UCSD – give financial support to incoming rowers …….. no kidding!!!!!!!!!), but I think we are on the right track. After talking to kids and coaches from all over, I am convinced that we have the BEST “genuine novices” in SoCal. Maybe not where we want to be, but – again – the first steps are being made …. and I like the attitude of these young men.
Well, you know that I can talk forever – about Aztec Crew in particular – and so I will just say bye for now, and that you’ll get another update in a few days.