I rowed a boat for the first time this week.
At the place where we stayed for vacation, there was a small pond with two row boats. I took my daughter Mia there after visiting a nearby swimming pool. "Let's have a row!" I said. She was game, and I was excited.
We both entered the boat, and after I figured out how to mount the oars, I began rowing. "How come we're not moving in the water yet, daddy?" Oh, she's a smart one! I pulled my oar from its mount, and used it to push us away from the little beach. We were at last adrift on the water when it hit me: I really didn't know how to row a boat.
I started by making the rowing motions of those Olympic rowers, but instead of a smooth motion around the pond, my boat lurched and jerked forward, backwards, and every way in between. If my boat could talk, it'd say "I got me a rookie here!"
Did I mention there was a large water fountain in the pond? Its generous spray of water would be enough to cover the entire boat if I were to row under it.
Of course, I began to head towards it. Each rowing action I took seemed to bring the boat towards the fountain. It seemed the more I tried to avoid it, the closer I would get to it. Mia exclaimed the obvious: "We're getting very close to the fountain water, daddy!"
My hands felt paralyzed. I could see Mia bracing for a dousing.
Very quickly I rowed with only my right oar. This caused the boat to turn, facing towards the fountain. Then I sank both oars into the water behind me. I heaved my hands and arms backwards and the boat obeyed, moving away from the fountain!
The feeling of relief was immense. As we moved away from danger, I spun the boat a few more times in a haphazard effort to get us back to shore. As we approached, I ended up taking off my shoes and stepping into the water so that I could beach her properly.
I can laugh about it now. In boating, as in life, it can be dangerous to just drift. You have to drop your oars in the water and take action, otherwise you could get rained on.