The heavens opened long before we got to the course, with a cold rain before dawn pelting down in 40 degree weather. Horrid, cold and wet. Add in the occasional lightning and the announcement before first call was easy to predict: delay. We got the boat down, rigged and carried the oars over. I then told the girls to find someplace in the Lake Lanier boathouse to keep dry and sort of warm, like the coach of EVERY other team there.
We found hoards of wet, cold high-strung rowers, stuffed into a room triple its capacity. I managed to find an out of the way corner down a hallway and some chairs, so we didn't have to breathe the stank breath of everyone else. The girls were already hungry, and rumors of the fabled Biscuit Shop quickly spread. When word came down of a three hour delay, my decision was easy. "Let's get some food." There are two tables in the place, but the biscuits are warm from the oven and ready instantly. Crew fed. Check. Must keep crew fed.
But now where? We filled that place and I couldn't keep the kids there for the next two hours. More than anything, I wanted someplace quiet, out of the rain where they might be able to nap, get some schoolwork done or surf their smartphones. Anything but think about rowing in the cold rain. Setting up the tent next to the trailer would put us outside and in the mud. We couldn't overstay our welcome at the shop. Where next? Starbucks?
How about the Hall County library........open just as we finished eating, chairs, quiet and with very fast WiFi. I'm sitting there now, and here are my rascals....
Fed, safely asleep, warm and off their feet. Check all boxes.
All of the preparation for a race can go right out the window if a coach can't keep his crew comfortable and ready on the race day. A hungry, shivering team won't perform anywhere near its best. Managing the challenges of race day has become something I've gotten better at. Years ago, I might have just fumed at the officials, paced around, driven more hair grey and not actually DONE anything to help my team. Today, I couldn't care less when the race starts, as I've got the twitter feed and a warm, rested fed crew.
Speaking of twitter, the feed suggests the regatta should restart soon. Time to wake them up.