The Jody Conradt

The University of Texas rowing team has a tradition of naming boats after “strong Texas women,” as Coach Graves reminded us on Saturday. Jenny and I had taken Elena out to the dedication of the Jody Conradt, the newest racing eight in the boathouse. We arrived just a few minutes before the ceremony began and took up a position on the edge of the audience. As soon as we got there, Jody Conradt herself, who had been waiting nearby until they called her up to the mic, came over to say hello to us and look at our baby. I should rephrase that–she came over to look at Elena and was willing to say hi to us in order to get access. Everyone loves to be a grandma! In all seriousness, Coach Conradt was extremely nice.

Coach Conradt shares some thoughts about the Jody Conradt.

Coach Conradt shares some thoughts about the Jody Conradt.

The boat christening was good. The principals shared some funny stories and inspiring words, followed by a brief inaugural row by the varsity team. When the rowers pulled in to the dock, one of them switched out so that Coach Conradt could take a ride in her namesake boat. She seemed to like it.
Like any good coxswain, Elena focuses on steering a straight course.

Like any good coxswain, Elena focuses on steering a straight course.


As the event concluded, the attendees were invited to have some pastries and look around at the facilities and equipment. Many of the guests didn’t know much about rowing, so the team had set a couple of boats in the “guts up” position so that observers could see the insides and perhaps have questions answered about the mechanics of rowing. The temptation was too much for me to resist–I got Caroline’s permission, and we put Elena in the coxswain’s seat for a quick photo op. Look at her focus and concentration–she’s an athlete already!

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