As many of you will be aware, this year’s Boat Race coverage was marred by the broadcasting of Oxford coxswain Oskar Zorilla’s profanity. Whilst the BBC recognised the problem instantaneously, it failed to bleep or mute Zorilla’s microphone.
Normally, we love having the coxswains mic’d as it allows us to hear their calls and give us inspiration for our own pieces. In this instance, it was spoilt by swearing. The question is who should take the blame - the broadcaster or the athlete?
Broadcasting microphones were first installed in 2006 so television viewers could hear the coxes issuing instructions. Five minutes into that race coxswains from both boats could be heard swearing. In 2007, both teams were warned not to swear during the race. So the BBC has actually experienced this before and is still naive enough to believe it will go away with a simple warning? James Cridland, a former BBC reporter commented on his online television show “Why, after one naughty word, did they keep his microphone live - and up - for another, and then another?”
Oskar Zorilla is a 25 year old, Master of Economics student at Oxford University. Should someone who is supposedly highly educated swearing be tolerated? The fault to some degree must lie with the athlete. Zorilla argued the he knew he “was mic’d up, but once you get out on to the water, it really is just you and the eight guys. In one way it is very public, but in another, it is just me and them.” Zorilla goes on to explain that the swearing predominantly took place during a crucial part of the race - a push designed to break Cambridge.
Zorilla isn’t the first to let language slip during big sporting events nor shall he be the last. It is simply unfortunate that while sports such as Rugby and Football also contain similar levels of profanity they are not mic’d up and therefore not scrutinised by the viewers.
Social media at the conclusion couldn’t decide. Many pin the blame on the broadcaster- the professionals who have experienced this before and have yet to react. Others focus on the athlete stating that nerves, excitement and adrenaline is no excuse for profanity.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Who’s to blame - the experienced broadcaster or an adrenaline fuelled athlete?
Whether you're a coach or a cox send us your questions and get them answered by Kayleigh Durm.
Kayleigh is the expert blogger behind Ready all, Row. She's an enthusiastic coach and coxswain who has coached the Boston College High School team and more recently the Brandeis University Novice Men. Although currently coaching a local high school team, Kayleigh's long-term goal is to be a part of a successful Division 1 University Program.
Remember to send us your questions for Kayleigh - whatever they may be. You can do that here, in the comment section below, on our Facebook page or simply tweet them to us @coxmate. Remember to send them before the 28th of Mayl to ensure your questions will be considered.
What are you waiting for? Submit your questions and get them answered by Kayleigh Durm! Remember, you only have 2 weeks!
This is the second of a series of Coxmate product comparisons. The first comparison pitted the Coxmate SRT+ and the NK Cox Box. The aim of these comparisons is to help you choose the equipment that fits your needs.
This time we will be comparing the Coxmate AA to the Nielsen Kellerman Cox Box® Mini.
Both the Coxmate AA and the NK Cox Box Mini provide voice amplification for the coxswain. Both units are also compatible with the same speaker harnesses. This means the AA will work with any NK speaker harness and vice versa.
Both units are also built to survive. Both the Cox Box Mini and the Coxmate AA are waterproof to the same international standard, IP67. This means they designed and sealed to be temporarily waterproof up to a depth of 2m. They are also both designed to float, and withstand shock. The Coxmate AA can withstand a 1.5m fall. While no specifics were given about the Cox Box Mini, it has protective bumpers that improve its durability. The Coxmate AA features protective covers for all external connectors to keep them clean when not in use and also includes short circuit protection to protect the speaker.
Points of Difference:
Here’s a major point of difference between the AA and the NK Cox Box Mini. The battery life of each unit is significantly different.
The Coxmate batteries will allow it to operate for up to 6 hours – based on 50% volume and talking 50% of time. With a 10 hour charge time from empty. This operating time is significantly higher than the NK Cox Box Mini. The AA battery is replaceable, but requires you to unscrew and open the unit it in order to do so. This means that you can’t change out the battery pack on the water.
Based on same 50/50 criteria NK’s Cox Box Mini battery will last 4 hours. The charge cycle for the Cox Box Mini is also slower than the Coxmate taking 12 hours faster than the Coxmate taking around 9.5 hours to charge from empty.
However the Cox Box Mini gains points back with the ability to quickly and easily switch battery packs, even while on the water, you simply twist the new pack into place. Although this does require the cox to carry spare battery packs, not to mention the added cost of buying extra battery packs.
The AA is lighter than the Cox Box Mini. The Cox Box Mini weighs in at 567g (1.25lbs) whereas the AA sits at 250g (0.55lbs) making the Coxmate less than half the weight.
Coxmate AA: AU$490 (Includes: AA control unit, charger, microphone and carry case). Spares: Battery $40, Microphone $110.
NK Cox Box Mini: AU$636 (Includes: Cox Box Mini control unit, charger, microphone and protective bumpers). Spare: Battery $125, Microphone $149
*These are the Australian price points. Check with your local distributor if you’re outside of Australia.
What do you think?
Do you have anything to add to this? Want to share your experience with either the AA or Cox Box Mini? Leave us a comment below.
How does one get into Dragon Boating in Canada?
Dragon Boating is a quickly growing team sport in Canada and has been gaining traction with new paddlers as a way to stay fit and have fun with friends or peers. Most people that I know join the sport through friends or family who have paddled before. As for how our members join our Ryerson Dragon Boat club, we either recruit them through our club booths on our university campus club’s day, or they visit the Ryerson Dragon Boat Club website, but I’d still say mainly members get into the dragonboating sport through word of mouth.
What are the major regattas you compete in (both local and international [if applicable]?
Our club mostly competes at the local level. Below are some of the regattas that we will be competing at this year:
The Ryerson Dragon Boat Club will be competing in:
The Ryerson Dragon Boat Club – Women’s Team will be competing in:
The Ryerson U23 Team will be competing in:
Do you know any good resources for Dragon Boating?
Here are only some of the dragon boat resources that I have referred to online:
DBV – Resourceful site for dragon boat reviews, and news
Dragon Boat West – Offers news, events announcements, race results, and a discussion forum
Dragon Boat Forums – Message board for the dragon boat community
Have you considered audio amplification for your boats?
Yes, we are currently looking into buying a NK’s Cox Box Mini to help our steers and drummer communicate to the rest of the boat during practices and regattas. Cox Box Mini seems to be a portable and an affordable device for our club to use for practices and races.
This week we put a few questions to coxswain Andy Probert, who became The Boat Race's oldest ever competitor when coxed Cambridge in 1992. YOU asked him his advice on a variety of topics ranging from safe temperatures to his view on the coxing of this years' Boat Race. Here's the advice Andy had for us:
How are you meant to judge boat lengths in a race? I find this both spatially and technically difficult. Do you measure from your shell’s bow to the competitor’s bow? And if your racing shell is longer, do you change the measure of length/canvas to match your boat?
Judging distances is tricky and not an exact science - it's a case of visualising your own boat and how many lengths of it would fit into the gap between your boat and the boat in front. It is never going to be accurate - just a guide for the crew.
It's best to give distances to the crew in front as "X lengths clear water" (ie the distance between your bow and their stern) - rather than just "X lengths" - to avoid ambiguity. And if in doubt, over-estimate the distance if you are closing the gap - that way it's a morale booster to your crew when they appear to catch up rapidly (never lie, but you can exaggerate . As soon as your bow is level with their stern, you can say "One length" with confidence, and then (hopefully) "Overlap!"
When side-by-side, it's a case of looking directly across - if you are level with their 4, you are about half a length up. If the other boat's stern is about level with your 4 or 5 blade, then they are half a length up. You can use quarter lengths and canvas distances to motivate your crew (eg "They are a quarter of a length ahead....now they are only a canvas ahead") during that sticky bit when two crews are nearly level.
What do you consider safe temperatures for rowers to row in (both hot and cold)?
Generally rowers need to be warm, but not too hot. So, extra kit in the warm-up, but, with the possible exception of freezing winter head racing, just an all-in-one, singlet, T-shirt or some combination of these, is fine for races or training pieces. But then keep the crew warm afterwards, while they cool down.
After watching the 2013 boat race how would you rate the coxing?
I only saw bits of the 2013 Boat Race in the end. The courses were OK but I don't think coxes can ever steer a 'perfect' course in this sort of side-by-side race, as they are limited by having to jostle with the other crew. Both coxes did a pretty good job of fighting for the stream too, without clashing (which is very hard to do).
When Cambridge were behind, their cox did particularly well in keeping out of the wash from Oxford's blades, while still staying in close, to limit Oxford's ability to manoeuvre and dominate - again a hard thing to do. The Oxford cox was nicely aggressive all the time, but my biggest criticism is that he talked too much. The US style is to gee-up crews with lots of hype - the danger with hype is that it's easily punctured and it only works once. The British style is generally a bit cooler, saying less and being more analytical - stick to the important things, so that crew keeps listening, but then use tone and real passion in the voice to get the emotions across.
How should coxswains educate themselves?
Learning to cox is a career-long process - it never stops - that's part of the fun. The main sources of information are:
Regrettably, most books on rowing and coxing are, almost by definition, out of date, and few coaches were originally coxes themselves, so they often teach what their old cox used to do (which may, or may not, have been very good). So take advice, but then develop it yourself. It's rare for two coxes to have the same style, but two quite different techniques can be equally effective.
Remember to sign up to Andy Probert's Top Tips for Coxswains right here on Coxmate for more free advice.
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