Special Report: A Social Disease

The Director's Chair on Preventive Medicine

The text, not scheduled for publication until August, was unavailable. However, we have deviously obtained portions of the manuscript. The following are excerpts from the text.

catch: refers to the point at which the oar breaks the water. Ideally, the blade is dropped vertically in at this point, with minimal splash. The catch starts the stroke.

drive: ability foreign to people from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Antarctica. This part of the stroke is when the blade is in the water. The drive pulls the boat through the water as the oarsman pulls the blade through the water.

release: when you "let go" of the water. The end of the drive; the point at which the oar is removed from the water. This action should ideally have no splash.

recovery: the final part of the stroke when the oar blade is moved above the water, back to the point where the next stroke begins again.


feather: the pre-requisite for recovery. Feathering is the wrist action that turns the blade parallel to the water so it can be moved in the recovery without touching any water. A recovery without a feather is like Chem 20 without pre-meds--impossible.

catch a crab: (King, Alaskan King, legs of) An oarsman catches a crab when his oar hits water on the recovery, knocking the handle back into his body. At times, the shock can be violent enough to throw an oarsman from the boat in which case he may get "sharked" (sharking is usually fatal to the race).

skying: dropping your hands at the catch so that the oar's blade lofts into the sky. Useful for killing low-flying seagulls.

hanging it up: (not to be confused with what most athletes are doing with their jocks after a lousy performance.) This idiom describes a hesitation at the catch caused by a rushed recovery and a pause before the catch.

washing out: lifting water with the blade at the release. (Can be handy if you wish to splash the person next to you in the face.)

going deep: burying the oar too far. (This becomes obvious when the oar's handle disappears completely underwater.)

stroke: oarsman next to the coxswain. (see caress.)

coxswain: occupant of the boat that seems to be the only one facing the right way (frontwards). Easily identifiable by the large beek protruding from the mouth known as a "megaphone." Coxswains are the lightest members of the crew and are responsible for steering, coordinating cadence with the stroke, and fighting off crude spectators' assertions that they are wimpish, because of their small stature. (see jockey.)

sinking: condition common to boats with holes in the bottom or those attempting to carry a football team's offensive and defensive front line. Can be identified by the sudden disappearance of the boat and the trail of bubbles emanating from drowning crew members.

running ashore: usually messy. Tends to ruin the boat as it breaks into lots of pieces on the rocks. Can occur if the coxswain falls asleep and ignores the boat's progress towards land. Makes coaches extremely mad.

losing: never ask about this condition. Could be lethal.

Hitting a bridge: occurs from a boat's failure to avoid those tricky archways on the Charles. Can be detrimental to one's health.

stadia: a plague common among Harvard crew members which acquaints them with the steps of Harvard Stadium. Generally leads to either physical fitness or an early death. Usually has the ability to reproduce one's recently consumed meal.

erg: an obscenity. Never use at a formal dinner or in the presence of crew members.

The official announcement of the new course is expected later today. We will bring you further developments as they happen. And now back to...(clicking teletype returns)...