Being a Coxswain in Holland: A Story from Dave Payne

By Rudyard Murdough | October 20, 2016

Working for Sparks the past five years, I’ve held a lot of different roles: from starting as a counselor at our domestic camps to being Program Manager for trips abroad. Truth be told, the most difficult role I’ve ever had was that of a coxswain in Holland.

We took our rowers out in large wooden quads, wide enough the boat easily stays upright even when there are no oars in place, for a leisurely row through the canals of Amsterdam. Having spent the vast majority of my time as a rower, I was curious to find out exactly how hard coxing really is. And I found out…

Between narrow bridges where the rowers had to lie back and hold the oars parallel to the boat so we could fit through, to the plethora of tour boats we had to dodge, I learned exactly how difficult this role can be. Fortunately, by the time we returned to the boat club no one was hurt and the boat only suffered a little cosmetic damage.

While I can never predict what adventures I will find myself and the campers undertaking, I know we are going to have a unique experience and some great times. It is only March, but summer is coming and with it a whole new set of experiences, adventures, and, be I so lucky, a chance at redemption as a coxswain.