Starboard and port...

It’s a New York experience I’ve been meaning to enjoy for the past decade: rent a rowboat and plish plash my way around The Lake in Central Park. Today, a holiday at my work, was the perfect opportunity to do so. It was a wonderfully sunny and warm autumn day, and a float around the 20 acre lake seemed like a good activity for a cold-congested pre-schooler and mom.

The afternoon light was beautiful, and were it not for my less eager companion, I might have been quite content to bob about taking loads of pictures of the fall colours that adorned the vegetation on the water’s edge. But Calvin was in a state of excitement akin to Kenneth Grahame’s Moley to my Ratty. (I had originally thought it might be fun to bring the book along and do a reading of the first chapter on the boat… but then I thought better of the suggestive notions of capsizing boats..  For the uninitiated, these are the lead characters in a British children’s book titled ‘The Wind in the Willows’ — one of my favourites.)

How soon can we sign him up for sculling?

It was enormous fun rowing again, and reminded me immediately of being a part of the second string crew at AU. Naturally, I didn’t expect to take a passenger seat and be rowed around by a 4.5-year-old. As you can guess, that’s exactly what happened. After spending the first 10 minutes observing me and our fellow boating parties, C enquired when he was going to get his chance to row. I explained some of the basics and let him have a try, feeling certain that after a few strokes of moving our four-person boat about he would have had enough. No so.

The pair of oars was a little unwieldy for him — he’s obviously too short and his arm span isn’t wide enough to provide proper purchase or enough of a stroke. Solution? A corrupted coxless pair: Calvin rowing starboard while I held down port. And that’s how we spent the next 45 minutes! (Watch the video below.)


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