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Peter Mallory's Blog

By pmallory - Posted on 30 September 2013

30 September 2013

I know I have been neglecting my blog while I have been coaching during the last month and more, and many of you have been reminding me. "When will we hear from you again? We miss you."

Well, things have indeed been percolating in the back of my little pea brain, and they rose right to the surface just the other day as I attended a meeting on the Loyola Marymount University campus. Look at the guy in front of me . . . look at the hair on his head. [photo sadly missing from this archive]

Yes! It's a Fibonacci Spiral . . . like a flower blossom or a snail shell or a hurricane seen from space or the arms of a galaxy. My goodness! How about that? What a wonderful world we live in!

In recent weeks and months I have had occasion to spend some quality time at reunions, formal and informal, with old old friends, and I've made a host of new old friends as well. Could there be a more life-affirming way to spend a bit of one's life in a universe where we live on the arm of a Fibonacci Spiral?

Next week Susan and I will break bread with old friends in Amsterdam, old friends I have never before met in person, but forever friends nonetheless . . . rowing friends. We share a lifetime of common values and common experiences. This could only happen in a universe full to the brim with Fibonacci Spirals.

How's the LMU team coming? I thought you'd never ask.

No straight lines in a Fibonacci world. Here is today's email to my team. (As a reminder, my son Philip is a naval officer who coaches an inner city high school crew in Norfolk, Virginia. We often collaborate and share training films. And he is well known for his candor.)

Team –

Philip Mallory: “Holy s***, Dad! These guys have less timing than my first year varsity. I hope this film was taken at the end of a long practice and they were mentally exhausted. The timing is just dreadful. You should be able to stay next to the women's jayvee boat at a 20 instead of busting your ass. They check the crap out of that boat!

“These guys are on the road to getting better, but it's a long road. 3-seat in your lead 4 just fundamentally doesn't get it, 2-seat is [details withheld], and that's just the obvious stuff I can tell from far away. It's awful, which in a way is good.”


But I believe that what Philip means by “good” is that all we have to do is fix . . . well . . . everything . . . and we’ll be so much faster! What is infinitely worse would be if you were rowing great and still having trouble hanging on to the women's jayvee. Then you would have no hope. That is most assuredly not the case.

I look at that film from Saturday, and I see all that Philip sees . . . but I also see what you can be . . . and very soon, too. I have gone through this very same process dozens of times. A boatload of near-novices that looks clueless and incompetent and rough as a cob in the fall and even the winter suddenly looks like a million bucks in the spring. It’s a process . . . but it requires faith in our ultimate destiny.

And I have faith in all of you and me together, you guys!

But improvement never happens by itself. We have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps every single day! Each one of us has to say never again will we tolerate . . . [details withheld - a whole lot of details].

This morning’s practice was a very good first step. Go over in your minds all the things we were working on. Review the progress of Xxxx, starting the practice [bad] and then an hour later [good] fairly regularly. Surely there is hope for us all!

This afternoon it’s all about [details withheld] on the ergs, and remember, they are erging at least as hard as we are this afternoon at Santa Barbara and UCI . . . and Cal and Washington.

Tomorrow, lift as if the guys from UCLA and Orange Coast . . . and Wisconsin and Harvard are lifting right beside you.

Philip will be moving out to L.A. in just a few months. We have our work cut out for us in the meantime. Don’t want any more “Holy s***, Dad!” moments when he gets here.

Warm regards,