On the morning of the race, m2 (the meatheads) decided that every edge would be necessary to achieve their ultimate aim of crushing the opposition. So they initiated psychological warfare with all the boat with the misfortune of marshaling outside the Queens boat club. As we squatted in 8s, the fear in the souls of the boats floating helplessly past was palpable, the sweat falling off their brow made the water levels of the cam increase noticeably. With every cheery “good luck Bois, you’re gonna smash it!” and every “I wish I had your leggings! “, more damage was inflicted upon the opposition. The mantra of marginal gains also inspired mercurial 4 seat Stephen to shave his head, drastically increasing the drag of the boat and reducing his weight. As we all know, weight adjustment matters.
When it the clock finally tolled for m2, we glided up to the start, cheerfully wishing a good race on homerton m1. But that facade of friendliness melted away the second we knew the race was upon us. As the Marshall called us ready, a silence fell over the city, and eyes around the world tuned in to watch that tract of water outside the jesus boat club.
While it’s true we’ve had cleaner starts, the fallen leaves made the water soupy it felt like every rower in the boat crabbe at least a little bit off the start (Arian, our meatiest boi, definitely did). While the start wasnt clean, we quickly banded together demonstrating the legendary m2 spirit to get our heads in and zoom off and into the course.
Will had committed hours to tracking exactly where we would be at every minute of the race, calculating the landmark we would be zipping by, assuming our speed to be 276 metres per minute. And with every landmark we passed, our noisy 3-man would let us know “downing boat club, thats one seventeenth of the way Bois”. Or “here’s where I always crab, only 7.3 minutes to go”.
Our firey Cox Iona had spent the best part of the term enforcing silence and crushing chat in the boat, to the extent that all chat was forced underground. But during the race any rower with an opinion felt free to pipe up. That m2 spirit really is impossible to squash, with every stroke, a different voice was heard trying to push the boat to that next gear.
It seemed during the race that people gravitated to the boat, our bank party of the “so sweet” Hidde swelled to two on the reach when Rob appeared and grew once more on the plough reach when keen bean Fresher Kevin started to follow us. But at that point the lactic acid was swirling, I had fallen into a trance, the only thing that stayed clear was the nape of Cam’s neck and the yells of 3 man Will.
That was until we arrived at Grassy. A new wave of undying energy burned in my very soul, I sat tall (Lukas did too I’m assuming who knows), my blade found connection instantly and I drove my legs as though the race had just started, and I shunted with the might of a god. Around grassy the split fell, we took the sweetest of lines. Iona, who had sworn not to congratulate my ability to drive us round corners couldn’t help but marvel in the brilliance. Sensing my work done, I fell back into my trance until the race ended.
M2 this term took an unconventional approach, rowing exclusively in the afternoon. While the trope ‘you get used to the early mornings’ is not true for the neatheads, that rowing is a great way to make friends is still just as true.