The first day of “spring” rowing felt more late winter. It was cold and gray and slightly rainy. But May 1st is a holiday in Germany and a great party day for our rowing club. On this day, I think I met just about every active member. Anrudern is “beginning of rowing” and involves a party and boat baptism. This is similar to what I’ve done in the states, but I have to say it’s much more fun here. There are some traditions that are similar to the states, but I don’t know of any clubs state-side that have whole days dedicated to the first day.
The day started around 8am with a club row. I was at the boathouse by this time but hadn’t planned on rowing, so I stood on shore and took pictures of the group. A coaching colleague of mine and a Vorstand (board) member were in charge of organizing everyone. Once everyone was settled in and off to row up the Rhine I took a walk into Biebrich proper and settled in at a hotel restaurant to have breakfast and wait for everyone to get back.
Once I saw the boats returning, I texted my friend who lives behind the boathouse to come meet me and we walked back to the boathouse where the party was being set up (it’s important to note here that our boathouse has a restaurant on top, owned by members of the club and has ample space for a setup like this) and the band was doing sound checks. The new boat was also present and ready for its naming ceremony. A small biergarten setup was established and the caterer was already serving drinks. Some of the parents of my Jungen rowers were there and helped to introduce me to other parents and club members who were interested in joining my adult rowing class I was planning for the summer. Once the Rhine rowers returned, the speeches began.
The boat to be christened is a 4x with coxswain setup, to be used mainly by junge Madchen around 50kg. It is definitely a lightweight boat and will probably be reserved for use by the Kinderrudern programme. Instead of river water, the boat was blessed with champagne. The girls took it out for a row-by after the naming.
My Jungen had set up a bake sale for their Jungenvorstadt club so I stopped by to have some excellent waffles and coffee. Their goal is to raise money for another erg in the boathouse gym (turnhalle). I’ll support whatever group wants to buy an erg so my friend had some cakes as well.
The big event of the day though was the erg race. There is no actual defined distance or format, but as their new head coach it was my honor to set the metrics for everyone. I decided on 500m crashes between two team relays. I had about 9 people on each side including some older siblings who came back for the day. The youth brought down two ergs from the gym and set them up on the sidewalk by the club so everyone could gather round and watch. It was like being at other erg relays with lots of yelling and nonsense and people crowded around. The prize though was a very much anticipated chocolate cake to be shared by the whole team. I presented the cake to the winners and was served the first slice. I told them I was pretty pleased that one of the perks of my job was to eat cake and watch people work hard.
Zach joined us near the end of the party so then he was able to meet the parents and other club members. We lunch of wursts and brotchen and then headed home out of the rain and cold.