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10/19 2010

A Public Forum

Written for the rowing website  I have been asked to write a blog for them periodically through the worlds.  This is my first attempt:

Here goes my first blog for Somehow writing a blog for my own website is a lot less intimidating than writing for a website dedicated to my peers. So you should know that in writing this blog I’ve had to ask myself what I should write about – what would be interesting, fresh, a reason for people to want to read my thoughts. The problem though is that row2k is a public forum that anyone can read – including those men I’ll be racing in two weeks time. So again, what can I possibly write about? Or does the question become what can’t I write about?

I can’t tell you what we’re doing in training sessions. I can’t tell you if the boat’s going well or not. I can’t tell you much actually. Certainly I don’t want any of our secrets, our potential for an advantage, to fall into the wrong hands – nor do I want to expose any weakness that might give a competitor the edge. What is left to write about?

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned over the years it’s to hold the utmost respect for those I compete against. I think it was Al Morrow of all people, the longtime Canadian women’s coach, who told me never to give my competition a reason to want to beat me. That was in 1994, my first year on the junior Canadian team. My sister Kim McQueen (nee Calder) embodied this principle through her rowing career, teaching me to be gracious in victory and humble in defeat. I believe that I have held true to these ideals over my rowing career – even in the thickest of rivalries.

My friend and crew-mate Rob Gibson and I were talking today about the ‘internet-age’ and how much more thoughtful we all have to be about what we write. Years ago I would have been able to post a comment about Cal on a message board in the locker room at UW without it getting back to Cal. Guys today have to think long and hard about what they post on their Facebook profile or on a personal website…or a blog-post on row2k. A message intended for a handful of friends could very quickly pass to thousands of viewers in a matter of hours. Rob rephrased what Al told me years ago in his own way: “Don’t give anyone a reason to want to pull any harder than they already do.”

Words to live by.


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