This year the trip started - for me at least - with a little change of plans... For the first time in all my years at SRA I was going to ride on the bus to FL. The trailer was already down here, and we had no need to bring an additional vehicle because of the open spaces on the bus. Mother nature had plans of her own... As we all know, the crazy weather of Thursday and Friday cancelled a bunch of flights... Turns out there was at least one family who was determined not to miss their cruise! I got a call on Thursday asking if I would be willing to help drive through the night since I would be going to Florida anyway... Hmm, ride on the bus through the night with 39 very excited kids watching very exciting movies, or drive a car through the night with control of the radio and control of the rest stops... I chose the latter.
The ride, I am told, was a pretty good one. Not too much drama to report from that. Mary was the bathroom watchout and that door had better be closed quickly and tightly. Lou got the back seat. I didn't hear anything about speed dating on the bus ride this time. But they did watch the original Karate Kid (which I am kind of sad I missed). I think the biggest bit of drama was that there were no outlets on the bus to charge their phones... SO - and I wish I had a picture of this - at every rest stop, there was a mad dash to find the outlets in the building and plug in the plugstrips and 6 phones to a strip, 2 strips to a receptacle. I did hear rumor that they shorted out the kitchen in Ruby Tuesdays, but it may have just been slow service.
Meanwhile, already in FL, Bean was over on the west coast sitting on the beach, and I was happily by the pool at a hotel while the kids made thier trip. Speaking of Bean... As you can see in this picture, Florida has been pretty good to Bean. Well deserving of a vacation, Bean came down here a few weeks ago and has been couch surfing. When she arrived, they were all out of compact cars at the rental place, so she got a free upgrade... to which she said "White Camaro please" and then threw on her sunglasses and peeled out of the driveway. (it may not have really happened that way, but that is the way I like to envision it happening)
When the bus did finally arrive, we had to re-arrange the housing for the week because one of the rooms was under renovations. So, the next group to get an upgrade was the boys. With only 6 boys on the trip, the logistics dictated that the boys should move into the apartment that is normally reserved for the coaches! Still not a 4 star hotel, but a nice upgrade from cement floor dorms and 16 bunkbeds. What I think they noticed first however, was the TV. Jokes on them though... no cable.
After settling in and eating lunch (and lounging on the dock in the sun for an hour), it was off to the rowing site for a nice afternoon of rigging and rowing in the sun. Things went pretty smoothly once we got going, and we all got on the water for a nice row in great conditions. Some of the other groups were annoyed by some jet skiiers, but my boat encountered very few wakes. M, M, H, C, and C were great (no names revealed... you'll see why in a minute). Coaching the varsity - who are typically a bit further along on the learning curve, I some times forget how much can be accomplished in one practice if the athletes are really focusing on it. It is SO fun to coach a group who are still soaking in massive amounts of information and on the steep end of the learning curve. These girls did awesome. And, I have to apologize to the parents, I learned a little bit about your driving habits... One of the drills we did involved pausing at various points in the stroke (gives them time to make sure their body is in the right position and that they are arriving at the point together). Then as they got good at that, I wanted to transition to regular rowing while still paying attention to the body position at those pause points, so I asked the girls to just do an illegal "california stop" (you know, when you just kind of slow down a lot and roll through the stop sign without actually stopping) at the pause point. Out of courtesy to the family, I will not reveal who said it, but one of the girls chimed in "my mom does that all the time". Quickly followed by "not my mom, she drives fast right to the sign and then jams on the brakes". It digressed from there.
Of course I say that all in jest, but it is comments like that which remind me how much the kids are watching. It may look as if they are only watching their phones and their friends, but somehow they still find a way to pay attention to adults (just not always when we want it!) Seriously though, I am continually in awe of the capacity for learning in this age group. If you have ever gone to see a Dr Nerney talk, you know a bit about this capability in this age group.
As I mentioned earlier, the conditions were great for rowing, and after a great 2 hours, we came back in and put the equipment away for the evening. A few of us adventurous ones decided to run home for dinner. Mary, Cassie, Cat, Isa, Alida and I laced up the running shoes, and Mr Dexter and Coach Courntey walked the 3 miles. Everyone ran awesome, and even after missing a turn and doubling back, Mr Dexter and Courtney made it back in time for dinner.
Curfew is at 9 and lights out at 10. Though as I write this, I think at least 50% of the adults are asleep. 25 hour bus trip requires a bit more recovery for each year over 25 I think :-)