March 10, 2019


ME AND THOSE CANOES (SPARSE GREY HACKLE, 9/02/57, Sports Illustrated)

Canoeists are different from ordinary people. In some cases the difference probably is a matter of courage, resolution, endurance or fortitude, but in my case it was what my old top sergeant said about a rookie who tackled all the dangerous horses. "He ain't brave," snorted the hard-boiled top. "He just don't know no better."

The fact that every time a canoeist embarks he runs a measurable risk of drowning or coronary thrombosis and a greater one of hernia or heat prostration indicates that there are things basically wrong with canoeing; it is, in fact, the most inadvisable means ever conceived for the transportation of man by his own efforts.

Take paddling. If you wanted to move a bureau, you'd stand behind it and shove it with the big muscles of your back and legs. If you had a boat instead of a bureau, you'd dig in your oars and do the same thing. But what would you think of a man who moved a bureau by sitting alongside it, a foot away, and twisting around to give it a feeble shove? If he had a canoe instead of a bureau, he'd use a paddle the same way.

Rowing with two oars drives a boat as straight as a bricklayer heading for a saloon, but paddling with a single blade zigzags a canoe like a bricklayer leaving a saloon. 

Posted by at March 10, 2019 12:00 AM