College – Issue 34

20 years ago. 1998. Rugby shorts and cotton-singlet clad, we blasted up Lake Ruataniwha to win the Maadi Cup. After a lot of chatter and numerous messages, the crew assembled in Twizel for the 2018 Maadi Cup, numbering off from bow, drifting in from exotic locations such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Tamahere. When the idea of a reunion was mooted there was widespread agreement that it was a good idea, but as everyone arrived and combined with a Maadi Cup win and fantastic regatta for Christ’s College, the weekend was to be more special than anyone had realised. With Friday finals cancelled due to weather and all the racing set to happen on Saturday, we set about preparing for a fantastic day of race watching. It had been 19 years, and since leaving school only some of us had caught up. There was much to say and find out. Invariably though, talk would turn back to that 1998 season, the week of racing and that calm afternoon on the water. It became apparent this was firmly imprinted in each of our minds. Many things remained as we remembered – the chaos of the boat park, the shoddy speaker system, the noise and tension of the starting blocks. We wandered around taking it all in. Some things had developed, specifically waistlines and grey hairs on certain Old Boys and members of staff, but the vast number of students bustling about looking nervous remained the same. It was great to be back. All nine of our crew made it for our reunion, which was a huge effort. It was also fantastic to see everyone still fit and healthy despite the ravages of time. The Christchurch Boys’ High School Eight, whom we beat into second place, were also present. Over the years we have become good mates with them, and it demonstrates the long-lasting impact and camaraderie of sporting achievement. It was a huge highlight to spend time with Maadi Cup – 20 Years On Reunion

our coach from 1998, Geoff Perry, now coaching and teaching at Saint Kentigern College. Geoff was only 28 at the time, an impressive achievement to turn a bunch of preseason no-hopers into an eight fast enough to set a time (6:00.14) and result that endures. Also, our Master in Charge of Rowing, Rob Donaldson, smooth and suave, who arrived to join in the laughter and recollection. As the last race of the day drew closer the nerves in the Christ’s College camp were palpable. Victorious in the U15 8x, U16 8+, U17 8+, the pressure was on the 18+ crew to deliver. Hamilton Boys’ pulled out to a third of a length, but as they came past the 1000m the gap began to narrow. With 500m to go Christ’s College took the lead amid widespread celebration and drew away to complete a remarkable regatta for the school. It was a surreal feeling to stand looking at the glacial water of Ruataniwha and realise that the 2018 crew were not even born when we won in 1998. Watching the crew climb on the podium, hoist the Maadi Cup and beam with pride and satisfaction brought all our memories and emotions of the day flooding back. It was a fantastic race and great to watch and be a small part of. Following the medal ceremony, we borrowed a boat and took to the water for a celebratory row. A bit rough and some rushing of the slide, but the general consensus was that a few training sessions and we would be looking good for a 30 Years On reunion repeat. We enjoyed the chance to have a photo with the 2018 crew and ask a few questions later that evening. In our minds there is no doubt they will be buzzing and still talking about this in 2038! We will hopefully see them there. A big thank you to the parents, coaches and staff who made us feel very welcome during the weekend.

Nick Ross (11795), Captain of Rowing 1998

1998 and 2018 winning crews

College Issue 34 2018


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