Drive Ratio

This post has nothing to do with the ratio of drive and recovery in a rowing shell: apologies for the misleading title. Rather, this is a lamentation about the ratio of driving (e.g., via automobile or bus) to activity time.

The Travails of Travel
This spring, like the previous three, I've coached a girls' high school tennis team. The 8-school district in which we compete is larger than several small European countries, and for some reason our athletic director scheduled us for 'away' matches 90% of the time. After this weekend, I will have logged over 1500 miles (see below) in just a little over three weeks. If I were in Europe, I could have traveled to at least 7 countries with those miles. I chose to skip the state tournament seeding meeting in Portland; that would have added another 600 miles round-trip (or about the distance from Paris, France to Salzburg, Austria).

The route to madness: a lousy drive-to-play ratio

That is absurd for a number of reasons:
  • We drive 5-7 hours for maybe 1.5 hours of tennis.
  • The girls miss a lot of school time.
  • We spend a huge sum of money on buses.
  • There are plenty of local schools against whom we can play.
Don't get me wrong: travel can be good and meeting folks from other places can be great. But traveling to the same town twice in a period of 3 days (325 miles of total driving) to play two schools is idiotic. Why not schedule these two schools back-to-back in the same location? Schools are going to run out of money for sports, and senseless, expensive travel has to be one of the reasons.

Think global, row local. Or, travel but leverage.
My hat is off to the creative people at our rowing club who organized a post-regatta regatta recently. After an official one-day regatta was over, a couple of juniors clubs raced the following day, enjoying the benefits of a buoyed course. No extra travel required. Brilliant!

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