I can’t believe this weather lately. Yesterday it was sixty-some degrees outside- so warm that I refused to make my girls erg indoors. Our erg room is actually the converted locker room of the football field (not as sweaty as you’d imagine, plus we have lockers and a full bathroom) so I let the girls pull all of their ergs out onto the track to do their steady state piece.
“You should be able to talk to each other during this,” I explained, “but not so much that I have to take six Advil after practice.” I don’t know if you readers know this, but high school girls have the ability to chatter endlessly. These girls are hardly different; as I was coming back out from the erg room, I heard “But Patrick is soooo much hotter than Ryan!”
The girls quickly got bored of their gossiping and instead started talking about their latest erg competition, which had been delightfully scheduled on the same day as my boating certification class; needless to say, I didn’t get to be there. “You weren’t there, so we have to make you thinkthat you were!” one of the girls informed me. I faked a giant sigh, but in actuality I loved their excitment. I remember the bubbly feeling when I was falling in love with this sport. “Well I wish I’d been there instead of in that 8 hour boating course with all of the other coaches.”
One of the girls stopped erging, and I could see her brain processing what I’d just said. Her lips moved into a sly grin, and her eyes bore into me. “So then you met the new coach?” They have yet to meet this new guy, but I already knew where she was going with this. After gossiping and talking about crew, the next favorite thing is torturing me. I noticed that every one of them, even if they had previously been engaged in other conversations, perked up to hear my answer. It reminded of meerkats, if meerkats had side-swept ponytails, pearls, and could erg.
I admitted that I did meet him, and suddenly there was a barrage of questions. How old is he? What’s he like? But most of all, is he cute? And then one of the nosier ones asked, “so, did you get your flirt on?” She said it with such attitude that I had to laugh, which, I don’t know if you guys know this, translates loosely to “yes” in high school girl speak. And then: “Are you guys going to date?” and “Are you guys going to get married? You could get married at the boathouse!”
In actuality, I’d thought the guy had looked like a cocky ass for the first three hours of the class. He had that I-rowed-Ivy-League attitude about him, sunglasses flipped onto his forehead even though we were indoors. But on one of our few and far-between breaks we had gotten to talking about different rivers and the cockiness faded a bit. After five hours of the course, we were all getting stir-crazy. Head Coach was taking calls on his phone, ignoring the fact that the old lady was still teaching us the differences between sailboats, and the new coach had taken to shooting rubber bands at me.
Holing a bunch of rowers up in one room overlooking a river and talking about boats? Should be considered torture. We burst out of there, shoving our new licenses into our pockets, and then spent the next hour working on the engine of one of our launches.
With the girls’ comments, I tried to think back to whether the new coach and I had been flirting. And then I remembered when we were about to leave: Head Coach told me to be in the erg room at three the next day. “I’m free then too, I can go help her,” the new coach said. Head Coach eyed us suspiciously, and then said “If you’re free then, you can help me out at the boathouse. I’ve got to keep you two separated.”