Simply Red… Great River Race 2014

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As if by magic, black magic, 2012 Team Apogee is back together again for the 2014 Great River Race rowing title.  For most of the year the team seemed set with our US marine, GI Jane, Stuart Hodgson retaining his place from ’13 and ‘Bashful’ Painter replaced ‘Dopey’, Femi Adigun.

Then all of a sudden and completely innocuously, Stuart mysteriously smashed his left leg to pieces and guess what? There is an opening for Lee or Femi to fill but in the blink of an eye, Lee suffers an eye disorder and Abracadabra ‘Dopey’ finds himself back in the boat.  West African Voodoo at work or just one of those things?  Spooky!!!

Has anyone seen this smoking ‘gun’ doll hidden in the draws or bins at Apogee HQ with one leg snapped off?

Anyway, with just a week to go before the big race, we are still in training and in a little bit of turmoil further to the loss of the dependable rock that is GI Jane we continue leaving our homes in morning darkness to meet on the Thames to get our training done before work.  Given that Apogee has had more changes and added more foreigners to its team than Manchester United, I guess I better reintroduce the team that will be rowing in the blue ribbon rowing event next Saturday.

At the front of the boat (we row backwards) is Bashful, John Painter.  Only that is not a white beard on his chin, it’s another chin.  Bashful is back having recovered from a random neck injury – that will teach him to mess with Dopey who sits in front of him in the boat.  Bashful adds power and organisation to the team.

Number 2 in the boat is the aforementioned Dopey whose reintroduction has duly messed with our BMT training time schedule replacing it with NMT (Nigerian Maybe Time).  Today he did not even turn up!!!  Dopey is the only team member under 40 and is trying to recover the 6 pack he lost having a baby last year.  That’s what pregnancy does to you…  Dopey, is our virility and muscle.  He is the only team member who thinks that Viagra is an opera and whose sperm count cannot be done on his fingers.  His reproductive organ still reacts to Page 3 so you would think that he would smile a little.

As an antidote to Dopey, Number 3 is Happy, Campbell Trainer.  For those of you who do not know, Campbell lives in a parallel universe to the rest of us.  It’s a world of happiness, stupid jokes, singing stupid songs, childlike one liners and pranks plus stupid information in abundance.  Last week he tried to explain to the team that the tide is created by the Earth orbiting the Sun, and the Moon orbiting the Earth using salt and pepper pots!  FFS, I dare not ask him how to sell a photocopier.  Yes, a world all of his very own.  Nevertheless this space cadet is our powerhouse and the team ‘engine’.

Me, Glen Charles, I sit at Number 4, Sleepy…  Well wouldn’t you with Campbell talking crap in your ear for 21 miles?  I sit in the middle of the madness, rock steady; head still and metronomic in stroke – never rocking the boat.  As the team elder statesman and having previously worked at the company I am an honorary ‘Apogilian’.  I also have the privilege of being able to say and write whatever I want and certainly the kind of stuff that the rest of you can only think about, like calling Barry and Jason wa*&£ers. Hahaha I enjoyed that.

Right in front of me is my mate, rower 5, Jason Collins.  I owe him the world and view him like a brother but he does not escape the writer’s wrath.  Sneezy, there is always something wrong with him, hay fever, colds, migraine, yourgraine, every bloody thing. He only needs to look at the sun and he turns into a black man.  Sneezy, is our own Steven Redgrave??? (Well, they are both dyslexic) and sets the tempo for the right hand side of the boat with the minimum of fuss and understated strength.

In position 6 sits another trusted friend, Grumpy team leader Barry Ferdinand all rippling muscles and volcanic anger pulling on that oar, a demented black Neptune.  By having Grumpy at the back of the boat we have created the perfect storm because, given Grumpy’s personality, the worst thing that you can do is to deprive him of information.  But sat at the back of the boat (with his back to all of us) he can see absolutely f%&k all.  That is the epitome of frustration for Grumpy so he just guesses what the rest of us are doing…  and he just does not do nice thoughts as he dictates our performance.

The wrath of Grumpy’s anger descends upon the only person he can see, Doc our Cox David Boost.  Doc (bats have 20-20 vision in comparison) works on our technical acumen, steers our path, motivates us and puts up with Grumpy “Are they working back there” or “Who’s not fu*&^ng pulling” is a regular lament.  Ever the diplomat, Doc constantly reassures Grumpy that we are not watching him do all the work – I must admit that his occasional breakdown rants do prompt everyone to dig in a little bit deeper.  This morning he almost stole the show when he unfolded his manhood to have a pi** at the side of the boat, unbalanced himself and the boat and came within a fraction of falling in.  If only – my pen was poised as Jason took evasive action to avoid getting a mouth full!

Despite the 11th hour disruption, between the 7 of us, we are Team Apogee, carrying the hopes of a company.  We are fine-tuning our fitness, determined and ready to claim our podium place despite ‘Dopey’ and at the same time get closer to presenting the Linden Lodge Charity with a creditable contribution further to our fund raising.  Thinking of those children is just the spur that we need to get up in the mornings and when the going gets tough next Saturday it will push on to greater feats.

All that remains is for us to get Dopey’s head right, fine tune our bodies and find out who the obligatory race day passenger is.  To give us an edge, the ideal person for this role is a petit size zero, light boned woman – Our own snow white.  Raj Mistry, our reserve cox was in charge of recruitment and I am not quite sure why he has been relieved of those duties… Evidently he has previous.

Any volunteers at Apogee who fit the bill?   Apply to Simply Red… See you on Saturday.