by Giuseppe Lamanna translated by Gillian Shaw (source text)

The writer and satirist Antonio Amurri argued that: “The fight against organised crime is really tough, because the crime is organised and we are not”. Thinking about it, he had a point.


In rowing’s case, finding those responsible is much simpler: it is us. And the crime is always the same: misdirected energy. So oarspeople, here are the ten crimes against rowing:

Rowing: 10 crimes

1) ROWING OUT OF TIME. A sense of rhythm and coordination are essential in this sport. There is only one mantra for rowers: arms, body, legs – legs, body, arms.


2) ROWING FORWARDS Even just pushing off from the landing stage, you are not allowed to do it. You will have simply put the boat in the water the wrong way round. You are rowers, not canoeists – if you don’t know the difference, you can’t complain about everyone else.


3) GLOVES Hands are precious, but that doesn’t justify wearing them. Not even in the gym! Gloves remove your sensitivity of how to use the oars and besides, you are rowers, your hands should get hurt.

hands quote

4) CARRYING SCULLING BLADES THE WRONG WAY. It may sound a bit silly, but as in all things details make the rower. Sculls are to be carried in the hand, with the arm extended by your side with the spoon in front of you. Carrying them on your shoulders is acceptable for few pairs, or for sweep oars.


5) SAYING: I CAN’T. This is the rowing equivalent of blaspheming by a fervent catholic. You’d rather be sent to hospital or see a good orthopaedist, but rowers just don’t use this phrase.

I cant

6) USING REARVIEW MIRRORS. Try not to laugh, but it’s almost common practice in England. And that makes you think how much British river traffic there is. But beyond that, it’s unthinkable for a true oarsperson. A rower should always know where they are going, because they are in control of their boat. They turn their head every now and then – just enough to stretch their neck.


7) NOT PADDLING IN THE RAIN. Putting aside the fact that a real rower is not put off by poor weather conditions, this sport thrives on contact with water either the water under your sliding seat or the water falling from the sky.


8) ANSWERING BACK TO YOUR COACH. Sadly, this happens more often than you would think. Just as in most other sports, democracy does not exist in rowing: the coach says it, you do it.


9) ENJOYING THE ERG. It does seem absurd but there are athletes who love this instrument of legalised torture. Beware of these people because they are not rowers, but potential serial killers.


10) TRYING CANOEING. There is not one rower in all the world (not even the writer) who has never thought it, or in extreme cases, has even done it. Canoeing is like the dark side for a Jedi. Once you go down this road… we all know where it leads in the end.

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