Special Report: A Social Disease

The Director's Chair on Preventive Medicine

(Teletype clicking in the background for dramatic effect)...We interrupt our regularly scheduled column to bring you this special bulletin from the Sports Cube Hot Line.

In a startling announcement during his coffeebreak yesterday afternoon, Dr. I.M. Nuts, part-time University Health Services psychiatrist and second-string batboy for the North House softball team, revealed his discovery of a new mental illness affecting many college students.

Prep School Immunity

Nuts explained that students who attended a public high school before college are often severely deficient in their knowledge of the sport of crew. He added that those with a private school education are usually immune to the illness because their schooling often filled this sports knowledge deficiency.

Nuts called his new disease "Crew Anti-jockism," adding that those afflicted with the condition tend to become nauseous, violent, introverted or sleepy when people around them begin to discuss crew.


The doctor attributed the condition to a neurosis that results from the feeling of inferiority occurring because of a person's lack of crew comprehension.

R.U. Crazy, Burger King Professor of Psychology and Parallel Parking, yesterday outlined two common situations that indicate a person is suffering from the newly discovered disease.

Classic Symptoms

"Take a typical lunch at the Union for example. Belinda, a charming young woman from Very Ordinary High School in Kansas is sitting with her boyfriend, Horace Albertus Magnus Gordon III. Horace and his friends begin to talk about ergs, their catch, and the abundance of crabs they caught in the last race. Immediately Belinda begins to gasp for breath, her eyes bulge, she rips at her hair and then blows bubbles in her milk. An obvious case of Crew Anti-jockism," he said.

He added, "Don't think this condition strikes only females. Just the other day I was watching a regatta from the Mass Ave. bridge when I noticed Lee with a female friend. The young lady was discussing the previous crew race in quite technical terms, and Lee was searching through his pocket-sized 'Tips on Cool from the Fonz,' looking desperately for a reply to the young lady's rhetoric."

"He was obviously frustrated, and wanted to impress his friend," Crazy added, "but when he asked how someone had time to eat crab during a race, she laughed in his face and walked away. Then Lee started chewing on the pavement, and I knew he too was suffering from the disease."

Dangerous Remedies

Both Nuts and Crazy confirmed that many students who had no pre-college knowledge of crew have avoided the disease by joining their crew team and learning the sport. However, Nuts warned that this method of prevention can result in addiction to the sport or premature death due to overexertion.

In an effort to eliminate the affliction Nuts and Crazy have developed an introduction to crew which will become part of next year's required Expository Writing course. Expos coordinator, Stu Dents Cantwrite, explained yesterday that the crew course will last about two weeks and will, through the use of a specially prepared text, introduce students to basic crew vernacular.

Cantwrite said that this introductory exposure will help students"fake their way through a conversation on crew so that they won't feel inferior."

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)...