It’s kinda hard, when you return to normal life the day after something like the Vets’ Head, to get across to non-rowers quite how momentous these events are without sounding like a freak.

“So how was your weekend?” they ask, innocently. “Do anything nice?”

“Well,” you want to say. “It was amazing. That moment when we came under Hammersmith Bridge and the sun was shining and my legs were starting to burn but it felt SO GOOD and we were still holding off Tideway Scullers and we thought we were gaining on Champions of the Thames and then of course that long bit before the bandstand felt like it was never going to end and by Barnes Bridge I was feeling really sick but we were just about to pass the Italian crew so we really dug deep and then we did pass them but it didn’t feel that exciting as we were being passed at the same time by a really good crew from Wallingford who came second in the event and then it was all over and in the end we did beat…”

But you don’t. You smile and shrug and say, “Yes, it was nice. You know. Rowing. And I even caught the sun a bit” (which I did, even with factor 50 on).

Your friends or colleagues might notice you wince a little as you get up from your desk, or spend longer than usual examining your tender hands. They might notice you wince again in your lunch break as you peer at your screen, closely examining frame-by-frame shots of your crew (yes, you’re still doing That Thing at the finish).

But you know and I know that this weekend mattered. We fought the Tideway and we won. Well, not actually *won* (in our case, anyway, in terms of pennants and stuff) but in the sense of winning at life, definitely a victory. The sun shone, the river played nicely, we rowed our hardest and laughed till we ached. To a normal person that might not sound like much, but to us, well… let’s just keep it our little secret, shall we?

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