Round 1: Trials

Trials are this weekend!

I can hardly believe it. It seems like ages ago that I threw my name in the ring to be a drummer for the Aus team and now round one is in 5 days and the process is beginning all over again.

Am I nervous? Yes and no. Not really at this stage, because these aren’t really my trials. Mine are mostly on water. Like I said, perhaps I’ll have to have a weigh in this weekend, and if I do, I’m totally fine with that. Despite the fact that I squeezed in some sneaky nachos at least twice in the last week, my weigh is actually on track since I’ve been nourishing my body with lots of salads and veggie patties, so I’m not stressing out about that at all which is super nice!

My trials are for my voice, my balance, my rhythm and my authority – all of which I’ve been practicing on weekends. Clad in my snow gear. Because MELBOURNE.

Training yesterday was good actually. I worked alongside one of the other drummers that is trying out for China as well and I’m learning some of the things that she does that I hadn’t considered doing (it is learning right? I don’t want to be stealing any one’s tactics here!) but she’s really great with projecting her voice so I’ve been trying to mimic her and a friend of mine said I was louder yesterday so that seems to be working. A few more weekends of that should be really helpful. Then it’s just working more on my calls. And really it’s all about key words – keeping the calls short, loud and snappy. If you’re yelling into the wind, there’s no point telling a little story to the paddlers because a) they’re too exhausted to care and b) they’re probably not going to be able to hear you anyway.

A couple of years ago I worded with a sweep who was a super lovely guy, but loved to tell stories on the back of the boat and really articulate them using his hands too and I could see paddlers rolling their eyes and I’d have to try and not laugh because I’m  at the front of the boat with 21 pairs of eyes on me so POKER FACE right, so I’d have to keep beating a drum, wondering when he was going to get to the point and when I could get a word in so I could tell my peeps to use their legs and stretch their arms out a bit more. Lovely guy though. And he did twerk on the way to the start line in Canada which was entertaining.

So anyway, that’s why we use snappy calls. That, and because things can change in an instant, especially in a 2km race – when you’re going around corners and other boats are next to you and there’s clashing paddles, you don’t even have time for words that have more than one syllable in them. I think I still need to work on getting my calls shorter. I still catch myself saying things like “Keep reaching it out guys” when a simple “more reach” would suffice really. So I need to sit down and brain storm some calls; do some homework and see how I go.

We also had the drums out this weekend, and it was cool because at one stage the other drummer and I had our rhythms completely synced up and both of our crews were running at the same rate, and that was thrilling. Having two crews running next to each other, with their blades thumping the water at the exact same time and hearing the beat of the drum echo around the river on a Sunday morning is just amazing. It totally gave me bubbles of excitement for next weekend.

What else … I’ve been hunting down wobble boards too and I think I’ve found one. Pay day is this week (*throws confetti*) so I’ll probably order one and start getting on that a few times a week.

Ironically, I have better balance on the water that off the water. I’m the sort of person who literally trips over air because I’m so clumsy. I tripped on my pyjama pants the other day and they’re not even that long … It takes some serious talent to do that, folks. And I possess that talent. Unstoppable on the boat, extremely questionable on the land.

Alrighty, until next week guys … Wish me luck!

Rach xx