Regatta Do’s and Don’ts

In no particular order, the following observations should help new parents better understand the new sport their kid has picked up, particularly some of the differences between crew and other activities. But the advice is not just for new team members, veteran parents can use a refresher course as well, so before you head out to your first, or 21st regatta, read on.

Regattas are an interesting sports hybrid since there is a great deal of downtime between races for the crews—so there is ample opportunity for you to see and talk with your child and other members of the team. Hugs and congratulations are always in order, but remember that you are not the coach. While the kids will be milling about, seemingly without a plan, there actually is a great deal of direction from the coaches and it is not your role to worry about warming up or launching for the next race.

Parents are also forced to deal with the natural highs and lows of sports in a different, very immediate way in crew. When the kids race—win or lose—you essentially see them immediately after the race—it’s not like a football or basketball game where the teams trudge off to the locker room at the end of the game. As such, you need to be ready to cheer for them no matter what.

The Yorktown coaching staff has a deep commitment to sportsmanship—win or lose, the coaches expect the crews to be good sports, to congratulate the winners if need be and to be gracious in victory. The same expectation applies to the parents—be a good sport; your kid(s) are watching and learning from you.

Offer to help out, even if you have plenty of points. The team’s success depends on the willingness of the parents to take care of the behind-the-scenes work.

It is difficult to judge how the crews are doing unless you have watched a lot of racing, so find an experienced parent or coach and stand with them during the race. Not only will they be able to give you some sense of how the race is progressing, but your group inevitably will grow, making it a perfect cheering section as the crews race past.

Also, if you have a question about your kid’s boat, his/her seat, future plans, and so forth, please understand that approaching a coach in the middle of a regatta really isn’t a good idea. Just because they are standing next to you doesn’t mean it is time to discuss your son or daughter’s college crew potential.

Finally, and most important—have fun, your kids will be gone before you know it.