I often write about our cover photos, and the one on this month’s issue is extremely poignant. It’s a beautiful shot of high school kids, using old Brown University sails, in a springtime team race. For so many of us, it brings back instant memories of some of the most fun sailing we have ever done. Even if you only dabbled in some high school or college dinghy sailing, the feeling is still unmistakable. If you were avid, the rush of memories is vivid. Then if you did any coaching afterward or have a child who sails, you start to critique. You might think, “That lead boat’s jib halyard is too tight…makes it hard to wing-and-wing in that light spot.”
But this spring, scenes like this one are not happening. The corona virus has put an end to a lot of spring rituals, and high school and college sailing are among them. I have a number of friends with college age kids who sail. These folks live vicariously through them in the most glorious way possible. Turns out sailing is a great sport for parent fans, especially with technology that makes it easy to follow the action from afar. One of my buddies’ kids went on spring break, and headed to Florida with his team to sail for two weeks in preparation for the spring season. His team had made the Nationals last year from the very competitive Northeast conference, and as a senior, he had high hopes of qualifying again and doing better in his last hurrah. And no doubt, my friend was bracing for an exhilarating spring, following his kid both online and in person at big regattas. Once he got to Florida, word came down from the school that all athletic trips were cancelled and kids should head back to school. And once they got back to campus, they were told that school was closed through March and they needed to go home until further notice. Well, in the subsequent conversations of whether or not to return home or stay at his off campus housing and enjoy his senior spring vacation, it fell to my friend to break it to his son that in all likelihood, there would be no Nationals this year. His son replied, “I know, Dad. It’s OK though. If I was playing a sport like baseball or lacrosse, this would be the end of my playing career. I can still sail for the rest of my life.”
See you on the water, hopefully soon!
Benjamin V. Cesare