Friday, September 5, 2014

Homecoming 2014 (October 10th-12th)

Racer Rowing Members Past and Present, 2013

The Story Thus Far


Varsity & Novice 2014
With bright eyes and eager grins, the generation XIX cohort gathers alongside their varsity big brothers and sisters; embarking upon what will surely be a memorable season. As the warm summer days start their slow retreat to fall’s brisk breezes, the familiar sound of oars snapping in their locks returns to Kentucky Lake as skills are learned and relearned; as new friendships are forged, and old friendships are renewed.

“All hands on…And up….Walk it down. Count off from bow when ready. Sit ready. Row.”

Morning practices, evening practices, the weight room, erg tests—Crew continues. But as we kick off this, the nineteenth year of Racer Rowing, let us not be quick to forget how MSU Crew began!

Homecoming approaches! And for yet another year we prepare to race for a most splendid trophy, The Dan Lavit Homecoming Cup. It is a symbol of our common history; of a team that has endured and flourished, that has struggled and strived. It is a symbol of the best of Racer Rowing: hard work, perseverance, and keeping company with those who are dearest to us. 

With head race season in the air and sprint season on the distant horizon, let’s remember and celebrate Racer Rowing’s past with a gathering of those MSU Alumni who once this crew were.

The Traditions


Alumni Victory, 2013
Racer Rowing’s homecoming draws MSU Alumni from all over the country. The gathering begins on a Friday with Alumnus, Coach Weaver—in an act of solidarity with his friends and former coaches—subjects the Varsity squad to a cruel and excessive 5000m erg test. The Racer Rowing Society editorial team has absolutely no qualms with this practice whatsoever on the grounds that such treatment builds character and grit in young Americans. Deal with it!

Meanwhile on the outskirts of town, bathed in the glow of their bonfires, the Alumni gather like the Mongol hordes of old…reveling in a feast of rare meat with strong drink; cultivating their strength for the battles in the day to come.

On Saturday morning, the two great squads, Varsity and Alumni—and the typically less great novice squad—meet on the shores of Kentucky Lake for what can be best described as the single greatest athletic feat known to human kind since Pheidippides ran to Athens to proclaim Greek victory over the mighty Persians (and then he fell dead, the poor bastard). 

The Race for the Homecoming Cup consists of 3-heat races between men’s and women’s squads….In the event of a tie, the day concludes with a final, winner takes all mixed-squad race. The rules of this contest, like the gentle waves on fair Kentucky Lake, are constantly changing at the whims of Racer Rowing’s most secretive and ancient tribal elders (check out this year’s new rules!).

Later on Saturday, we come together in a grand spectacle of solidarity; to make lofty speeches and proclamations; to dine heartily and to quench our thirst; and to tell and retell the stories of Racer Rowing: of our tragedies, of our triumphs, and of our legends.


Rules of the Race

Entry and Eligibility

  1. Must be a current Murray State University student or alumni.
  2. Must be a current member of Racer Rowing; or a former member in good standing.
  3. Only alumni may compete in an alumni boat.
  4. Varsity or novice rowers may compete in a varsity boat; however, once a novice rower competes as varsity he or she must compete as varsity for the remainder of the day.
  5. If any varsity rowers are in a boat, the boat will be considered varsity; a boat is only considered novice if every participant (including the coxswain) has rowed for less than two seasons (i.e. Fall + Spring).


  1. Women's Open 8+ 500m
  2. Men's Open 8+ 500m
  3. Mixed 8+ 500m (at least 4 rowers in each boat must be women)


  1. There will be at least 3 heats for the first two events (Women's Open 8+ 500m and Men's Open 8+ 500m). The team (i.e., Alumni, Varsity, or Novice) that wins the most heats, wins the event. In the unlikely event of a three way tie, there must be at least one final race to break the tie.
  2. If by the end of the first two events no one team has won the day (e.g., the Women's Varsity wins event #1 and the Men's Alumni win event #2), the tie must be settled by the winner of event #3.
  3. There will be 1 heat for event #3—winner take all. Mixed boats must have at least 4 women rowers.
  4. The Redemption Round—If there is a 3rd event, a mixed novice boat may compete and is eligible to win the Homecoming Cup Trophy (shame upon us all should Alumni and Varsity ever allow such a humiliating defeat befall either of our squads).
  5. The Epoch I Rule—If a boat consisting entirely of alumni from Epoch I (i.e., individuals who started rowing between the years 1996 to 2000) wins any heat in any event, the Alumni become the undisputed winners of The Homecoming Cup. However, upon winning, Epoch I Alumni may decide that it would be more sporting to abdicate their automatic Homecoming Cup victory. Should this decision be made, the coxswain of the victorious Epoch I boat must drop a single white rose into Kentucky Lake, signifying the squad's intention to keep competing under the normal rules.
  6. New for 2014—The Original Teams Rule—If any heat is won by a boat consisting entirely of alumni that all rowed together as varsity (including the coxswain), the Alumni become the undisputed winners of The Homecoming Cup. The victory will be recorded on the Homecoming Cup specifying the year of the original team. This winning squad may abdicate their automatic victory following the procedure outlined in the Epoch I Rule.
  7. New for 2014—The You-Are-Only-Here-Because-Of-Us Rule—If the total number of Alumni attending the Saturday night festivities is greater than the total number of varsity and novice team members combined, AND each alumnus makes a nominal donation to the club, the Alumni will become the undisputed winners of The Homecoming Cup.

Modifications to the Rules


Rules for competition will be settled upon by the Director of Rowing (or his proxy) and the Honorary Alumni Coach (or his or her proxy). This will take place through a tacit exchange of vague comments and nonverbal gestures, the significance of which might not be fully understood until well after the weekend concludes and everybody has gone home.



A squad may dispute the outcome of any heat or event by writing their complaint on a 3x5 notecard and submitting it to Racer Rowing Assistant Coach, Frank Swain. Wait 6-8 days for disputes to be resolved.

Come to Homecoming!


The 2014 Race for the Homecoming Cup promises to be a thrilling spectacle for the whole family to enjoy. Having roundly trounced the Varsity in last year’s contest, Alumni are setting their sights on increasing their lead in the overall contest by a second year’s win. But with a determined Varsity squad returning from a solid spring season, they may nevertheless reclaim the cup to bring the overall contest back to a tie. And what of this year’s newest club members? Could victory be within reach of an exceptional brood of Generation XIX novices? Though unlikely, such an outcome would not be unprecedented! 
Rally your teammates; assemble your crew! Be in Murray on the evening of Friday, October 10th for the pre-race day rituals of revisiting favorite Mexican restaurants, wandering around campus in awe of what’s changed (and what’s remained the same), and hanging out at The Racer Rowing Society Super-Secret Headquarters (6PM). The Race for The Homecoming Cup will be at 10 o’clock on the morning of Saturday, October 11th. Later that evening (6PM), there will be a family friendly reception at Dan’s house. There will be light refreshments, a silent auction for prized team treasures and memorabilia, and the presentation of The Dan Lavit Homecoming Cup to the winner of the day’s race. A smaller, less impressive ceremony will follow to award The Matt Weaver Participation Trophy to the losing team.  At 10:30AM on Sunday, October 12th, alumni will meet up at Martha’s for our farewell breakfast.

Make sure that you are Facebook Friends with The Racer Rowing Society. Follow Racer Rowing on Twitter @RacerRowing.

 Roundabout U segment produced by Alumnus Katie Farmer for Homecoming 2011

Final Heat of The Race for The Homecoming Cup, 2013

1 comment:

  1. Man! In the photos and the videos, I am crazy fat! That was me 40 pounds ago, y'all!