Indeed. I’m watching it on telly now. Someone, a youngish man by the look of him, swam across the course, in front of the boats, and both boats had to stop. They will have a restart, at the approximate point where the race was interrupted. Which will turn the event into two sprints laid end to end, instead of something more like a middle distance event.
The commentators are saying that it was some kind of demo. They are now showing the bloke narrowly missing being decapitated by the oars of one of the boats. It seemed like a very deliberate disruption. They are calling him “a protester”, and they are now reporting that he “has a big smile on his face”, and that he has clearly accomplished what he wanted.
So what do you suppose he was on about? Any bets? Maybe in times gone by, the message being pushed by this demo, if message there was, could have been entirely suppressed by the powers that be, in the event that they wanted it suppressed. These days, no chance.
This is not something that usually happens in the Boat Race. (Yes, yes, there are indeed many other boat races. This one is the Boat Race.) “This has never happened before in the Boat Race”, says an expert talking head.
The race will soon start again. At the time the race was interrupted, the two boats were both very close together. Oxford were apparently heavy favourites at the start. Now, not so much. It was turning into a very good race. How will this affect the result, and be judged to have affected it?
The Boat Race is usually, frankly, a very dull affair, or so I think. Often the race is won and lost within the first half a minute, and the rest of it is a tedious procession. This kind of thing livens it up, in many eyes.
But best of all is when the finish is, as is extremely rare, very close. This one could still end like that, but it’s very unlikely.
I see that in that earlier piece, dated 2003, I wrote this:
I overheard another interesting titbit in among the preparatory waffling. Apparently 90% of these oarsmen go into “banking”, by which I think they meant “merchant” banking. I don’t know what this proves. It could be that rowing is a fine preparation for financial titans. Or it could be that the financial services industry contains a lot of people with more ex-brawn than current brain. A bit of both, I should guess. They don’t get paid anything to be in this race, but it seems that they clean up afterwards. Investment in networking. Speculate to accumulate. Apparently they were racing for the “Aberdeen Asset Management Trophy”. It figures.
So this latest little drama is the kind of thing that Instapundit flags up under the heading of: “metaphor alert”.
And: they’re off!
Oh my god! An Oxford rower has lost the whole end of his oar. It’s just a stick! The race continues, because the umpire reckons it was Oxford’s fault, following a clash of oars. It’s a procession. Another metaphor alert! The sure fire winner is now doomed!
If you care, this is all terrible. But for me it’s more a case of LOL. Whether that’s right is an argument, but that, for me, is how it was.