HARDY CUBASCH continues his countdown to the big day with a look what is for some people the first really important day of the year: CUBC trials
It?s a crisp Tuesday evening towards the beginning of September and many of the figures that wander sheepishly around are unknown to each other. However, at least for most, the building they are about to enter is well known, steeped in history and tradition. Many have dreamed of having their names etched into its walls, though in reality many will vanish the following day without a trace.
For those that have been here before, the friendly embraces of apparently long lost comrades is a warm reassurance. As any student knows, the time between the Easter break and the start of Michaelmas is significant, and for those returning the previous years’ Boat Race will have been the last time they were here.
On this first day there is an air of confidence that surrounds the club. Last years’ Boat Race will certainly be looked upon in future years as one of the classics. Two courageous come-from-behind wins, culminating in a Blue Boat victory that is regarded by many old blues as one of the greatest of the modern era.
However, that was 2010. For those that have returned from the various pre-season trips, tales of victory and adventure are exchanged. Quickly though, eyes begin to scan the crowd that has gathered. For the returning Blues, they are already seeking out who could potentially be the replacements for those that have graduated, until any personal performance information can be gathered, physical size and the hint of any form of international ?kit? are the only indicators of potential. For most though, it is far more personal. They will do anything to achieve their desired goals and are therefore quickly sizing up those who they believe could possibly offer competition. Soon enough, there will be plenty of statistics to compare and all questions will be answered a different way.
The main door of the Goldie Boat House swings open and the President of the CUBC invites everyone inside and into the Captains? Room. Most find seats on the old oak chairs and dark wooden benches, and those that miss out are stuck on the floor or remain standing. Usually the number of students that arrive as ?trialists? on day one vary between 35-50, and any full time student at the University is invited to attend.
?A job where an entire year is judged by a single performance. According to the tradition since the first Boat Race in 1829, the President welcomes all trialists, introduces the coaching team and support staff and then outlines the season that lies ahead. Fundamentally, the CUBC has one purpose, to do what ever it takes to beat Oxford and win the Boat Race. Ultimately, nine of the students in this room will line up against nine of their counterparts on Saturday 26 March at 5pm.
There will be close to 250,000 thousand spectators along the banks, 7.5 million UK viewers in front of their television screens and a further 40 million watching from overseas. Choppers hover overhead while a fleet of spectator craft eagerly await behind. There are only two outcomes: win or lose. This is the picture every President of the CUBC paints from day one of each new season.
The VP: In between leading the team on regular 20km rowing machine workouts, satisfying his ?harem? of ladies that not even Johnian heart throb Alex Rose can compete with, this Casanova plays in the fields of the Great St Edmund?s reading Land Economy.
The following day is a day of maximal physical testing, the first round of cuts will be made, the remainder of the week spent narrowing the squad down further. For those that remain, the following Monday is week 1 of 26 towards the ultimate goal of Boat Race victory.
51 Days to go….