Things You Must Know About Head of the Charles

You will probably never in your life look so good doing anything as these rowers will at Head of the Charles.
You will probably never in your life look so good doing anything as these rowers will at Head of the Charles. By Shunella Grace Lumas

First off, you should go. Otherwise, you are making the biggest mistake of your existence. It doesn’t matter how much (or how little) you know about rowing. Whether you’re a rowing snob or haven’t so much as sat on an erg (that’s a rowing machine, landlubbers), you should go. There is something incredibly exciting and energizing about most regattas, but the Charles is the one that even the best rowers have dreams about.

Now that you’ve decided to go, you need to make sure you get a good view. One of the best viewing spots is the BU Bridge—but since everyone knows this, you must arrive early (unless you’re the same height as one of the heavyweight men). Just remember: no pushing, or you’ll end up taking a swim. There are people who take the HOC even more seriously than the rowers do.

But why, asks the casual observer, should one care about the view enough to risk your life? Here's why: these are some of the best rowers in the world—nay, the universe. They are lean, mean, well-oiled rowing machines, perfectly timed at the catch and exuding power in every stroke. You will probably never in your life look so good doing anything—go forth and worship them.

Most important of all, the winning teams throw their coxswains (small, fierce men and women charged with steering the boat and “motivating” the rowers) into the water in celebration. You know you have a masochistic streak—I mean, you know you want to share in their joy. Unfortunately, wet spandex is no less opaque than dry—sorry, guys.

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