**blogging LIVE from Cooper River Park, Cherry Hill, NJ***
I very much enjoy working the IRA regatta. I see it as an online field day. I’m here in a little trailer by the finish line with a laptop and a dialup connection. (Ewwwww!) Races happen every twelve minutes. So every 12 minutes or so I update IRARegatta.com with a race result. That takes me approximately a minute. Then I get 11 minutes of downtime. Since I finished the voter guide and Spot news June update from here this morning, this afternoon I’ll sit in my beach chair and bask in the sun with Cosmo. Today is the sunniest day I think we’ve had in weeks. It does my soul good. I actually changed into shorts during the lunch break, which was between 10:15 and 11:15 this morn.
Rowing, as a sport, doesn’t really move me. I fully understand and am in awe of the amount of conditioning it takes to complete a race. Let alone win one. A lot of the successful schools are the ‘richer’ schools, naturally. Sure, you have teams from Rutgers and Stockton and Temple, but when the smoke clears, it’s the Harvards and Dartmouths and Browns that end up on top.
The whole event is also geared more toward the spectators than the college athletes. Frank Sinatra and Billie Holliday music dominate intermissions. Middle aged guys with binoculars and freakishly-white legs wander around with clipboards and alumni polo shirts. Needless to say, this is the whitest crowd I’ve ever seen. With my Italian-Irish background, I think I’m the most ethnically diverse person here.
But rowing is catching on locally. I’ve seen the crowd grow in the mere 3 years I’ve been here. And that’s a good thing, because it’ll stimulate the local economy. And because I know that every May, I’ll have a day in the sunshine.