In times where society is more important than ever we reach out to Duncan Hollands post, he wrote:
Maggie Thatcher famously claimed that ‘There is no such thing as society’. I don’t wish to be handbagged by the shade of the Iron Lady but my experiences on, and around, the Cam lead me to a different conclusion. I have been privileged to live in a different world to the one she inhabited. Rowing society is functioning!
Those of you who read some of my posts will know I am a fan of the Bumps. I always had a great time at the Bumps. What I experienced there was that rowing society is functioning. The Cambridge (UK) rowing community numbers around 1.000 people excluding students. Usually we have around 850 of them on the river racing, with many filling multiple roles as athletes, coxes, coaches, organizers, marshals, and so on, with most of the rest also working to make it a success. This is standard stuff for rowers – remarkable though it is.
Where the rowing society really shines though, is in the reaction to other’s results. With genuine pleasure, we greet other people’s triumphs. As a winner rows home down the course wearing willow, all the other crews applaud and cheer; with shared pleasure, we acknowledge each others triumphs.
We were fortunate enough to bump up all four nights and thus qualify for Blades. This rounded out one of the best rowing months of my life. I have had great fun, made and deepened friendships, learned things and taught things, drunk a sufficiency of good beer, and been reminded that in the rowing part of the world a lot of things are done well, and done happily, for the pleasure and gain of others.
Rowing society exists and works. Long may it be so!