Category Archives: rowing

Dreaming Big Dreams Is Hard

“You can do anything you put your mind to.” — Pat Caple

It’s hard to believe it’s August 2016 already.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve been living in a strange house in Silver Spring, Maryland, for the last month-and-a-half, since renting my house was the only way to cost-effectively set off on our ocean rowing adventure.  It’s hard to believe that my girlfriend, Cindy, and I planned to be completing a row across the North Atlantic Ocean about this time…somewhere in Ireland.  It’s hard to believe we failed to accomplish this, and failed in such a big way.  Our row only lasted three days and two nights at sea.  Epic fail.  You can read more about our plans to row across the North Atlantic this summer on our website.

I’ve had more epic failures in my life than successes.  Successes seem really hard to come by.  Is Michael Phelps human?  Am I a sub-human?  I wanted to be an Olympic Sculler in the 1996 Olympics.  While attending Graduate School in Germany in the early 1990’s, I decided to take a long weekend to see the rowing events in the Barcelona ’92 Games.  I totally missed the rowing events, but was able to see some of the Basketball and Waterpolo events.  I was smitten with the idea of being in the Olympics one day.  I bought an Atlanta Braves Ball Cap in the Atlanta Airport on my way home from Stuttgart Germany, where I had just completed Grad School in 1992, as I came back to the United States to pursue my Atlanta ’96 Olympic Dreams.  I moved to Virginia and found my way down to the Occoquan River where the National Sculling Team trained.  I found Igor Grinko, the National Team Sculling Coach, and I asked him what I needed to do to make the team.  He said: ‘row…alot’.  I did a 2k erg test for him.  He said his women rowed faster than me.  But I didn’t quit…at least not for another two years or so.  My son was born in 1997, and that is when I decided to quit.  Ok, so my son off-set my Olympic Dream failure quite handsomely…and then my two daughters.

Looking back, I have realized that alot of my biggest dreams, and failures, have been centered around the sport of rowing.  Maybe that’s because I love the sport and camaraderie so much.  I listen to the Olympics taking place in Rio on the TV, but I can’t watch.  It reminds me too much of broken dreams.  I wish I was competing in the 4x sculling competition in Rio this year, or arriving in Dingle, Ireland, as one of the first American Pairs Boat Crew to ever row across the North Atlantic.  Damn dreams…Maybe I need to have more children to help offset this failure.

The athletes you are watching on TV now, who are competing in the Rio Olympics, have already achieved an amazing feat, regardless of whether they win a medal in the games.  It’s just an amazing accomplishment to even make the Olympic Team and to win the privilege to compete at that level.  Truly incredible!  These athletes have athletic powers well exceeding what might otherwise be attained from 10,000 hours of repetitive practice.

But forget sports.  I’m putting my mind to a new dream.  My new dream is to become Financially Free, Independently Wealthy, and to be able to ‘retire’ well before Social Security is *supposed* to kick in.  I may fail in achieving most (if not all) of my dreams, but I never want to be known as someone who quit dreaming because of failures, or never dared to dream big dreams in the first place.  Plus, this dream has nothing to do with rowing or sports, so maybe now I have a chance of reaching it.

Now, who’s got my money?


Head of the Schuylkill, 10/24/2015

Here is a video I made of a rowing race my rowing team competed in on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA.  I mounted my daughter’s GoPro Hero camera on a bike helmet and sweet-talked my coxswain into wearing the helmet during the race.  The footage turned out pretty well.  I rowed in 6 seat in this race, so you can’t see my pretty face for most of the footage.  Nevertheless, the footage is pretty entertaining, from an oarsmen’s perspective.

The accompanying music is from Carmina Burana.

After the race, my girlfriend (Cindy) and I hung out at Crescent Boat Club, on boathouse row, to watch my friend, Tom, assist in a boat christening ceremony.

The Morning Row

This is my eight this morning rowing out on the Potomac River with Alexandria Community Rowing.  I am the stroke – the guy in the front setting the pace and rhythm of the boat.  I like being the stroke.  It’s kind of like being the lead drummer in a band…sometimes the band follows you, and sometimes they play a completely different song.

It takes concentration to row.  You either have to set a pace that others in the boat can follow, or you have to have precision in following the stroke of people in front of you.  It takes concentration, anticipation and a sense of rhythm.  You have to feel, and anticipate, the rhythm and swing of the boat in order to be of one accord with her.  It’s hard work.  The pay-off can be thrilling.  Mostly it’s just frustrating.  But when she hums, you know she’s happy; and when our boat is happy, we are happy.

Follow me and my partner as we row across the North Atlantic Ocean next June…