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Posted by on Oct 26, 2009

Princeton Crew, the Ivy League and Respectful Nomenclature

This is more of an observational post rather than anything intrinsically of any merit, but I will leave it for you to do with what you will.

I was walking along the Princeton Canal path. Off to one’s right is an old canal path from the early parts of the 19th century. Off to the left is Lake Carnegie, which is a bit of a misnomer as it actually is a straight waterway perfect for boats and, since this is Princeton, crew.

Crew are those long slender boats with many people sitting one in front of the other all facing the wrong way except for the one in front (back?) who is facing the way the boat is moving and whose sole responsibility seems to be to yell at everyone else. Often with a megaphone. This path is a perfectly tranquil place, full of beautiful birds and flower turning that brilliant cascade of yellows, oranges and red this time of year. It is tranquil most times except when the Ivy Leagues descend on Princeton for their crew races.

And yes, there is Dartmouth, and yes, Harvard, Yale, Georgetown and the whole bit. And yes there are chinos out the yin-yang and sweatshirts that say “Insert Expensive University Name here” Crew. And they all stand at the various bridges and scream things like Go Blue! Go Green! and Down With the Peasants! or some other bits of Ivy League wits (witbits).

I am reminded of a football cheer that was literally chanted at a football game in the great American institutions of higher learning:

Thermopylae, Thucydides
The Peloponnesian War!
x2, y2, h2so4.
Who for, what for.
Who the hell are we cheering for?

Ahh, they are witty around here, aren’t they?
(forgive my squared symbols above, I can’t be bothered to go look for the proper notation)

Either way, so you have these long boats and they race them really fast. As so does House, if one watches the opening credits of that show which supposedly takes place in Princeton (the river they show is Lake Carnegie as the overhead shots are Princeton campus):

So, I am sure all these Ivy League types have names for all parts of the boat and all those crew people in them. I, however, am fascinated by the social awkwardness that must ensue as the person who is facing the one direction is nose to nose with the person rowing in the other direction. I imagine that would be uncomfortable the first time.

MLt Wt 56

The Princeton crew guy facing the wrong way

I mean he is sitting there doing nothing but yelling and facing the opposite direction as everyone else. I imagine the first guy rowing looking at him gets peeved as well as he might be thinking “who is this guy to yell at me when he is doing nothing?”

Well, I created a term to represent the space between the two guys facing in the opposite directions doing opposite things.

I hereby refer to it as the “scrum junction.” That is all.

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