These are the dog days of the crew season, when exam period and a long gap between races combine to give Newell boathouse an unwonted air of manorial gloom. At 4 o'clock Tuesday afternoon, usually a time of crowded confusion, Coach Bolles could be found sitting alone in his upstairs office, poring over the records of his former crews.
This would seem a peculiar way for a coach to be spending his days with the Yale regatta a scant three weeks away. It is a temporary phenomenon. By tomorrow the Newell boathouse will be entirely abandoned, and all hands will be back at their oars operating out of Red Top, plying up and down the Thames to the extent of 20 miles a day.
A few days of this sort of thing should suffice to bring the crews back to the physical peak necessary to end their season unbeaten. Bolles has a more humane theory of how to coach a crew than his Yale counterpart, Allen, Walz, a devotee of the work-em-till-they-drop school of though. While Harvard crewmen are allowed to sit around and dissipate most of the winter, the hardy Elis are out on the river, simulating Washington crossing the Delaware. Theoretically, this will make them strong to the point of invincibility come the Harvard-Yale four mile pull in 'late June. It doesn't seem to.
Bolles puts no stock in this philosophy. His crews do not start serious training until the spring term, and such relative periods of ease as displayed these last two weeks show what might be considered an off-hand approach to the whole sport.
There is a theory behind this seeming nonchalance. Bolles believes that a crewman, if forced to row his heart out for months on end, will go stale both physically and psychologically. The task is not to build him up to superhuman proportions by sheer foot-pounds of energy expended, but to train him to peak efficiency at the exact time the race is scheduled.
This point was reached by the Crimson in time to clean up the Eastern sprint championships in mid-May, but the inevitable slump that followed that regatta has been allowed to take-its course, within limits.
Tomorrow the real grind begins again at Red Top, a monastic retreat where little occurs besides eating, sleeping, and rowing, with emphasis on the latter. The seriousness of this period can be appreciated when one considers that exams are solicitously delivered to Red Top by the administration. Let any other mortal attempt to work out such an arrangement with his Dean and see how far he gets.
Bolles has the best varsity crew of his career, and his varsity, jayvee, and freshman boats are all undisputed champions of the East. Bill Curwen, who missed the Cornell race due to illness, is now back at stroke, and within a few days he should be in top condition once more. This would seem to indicate that only sudden plague, an accident during the race itself, or some other act of God can cause the upset Walz so blandly expects.