College cheating scandal- learned something about myself

   #1  

simon520

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So my old rowing coach, Zenon Babraj, who has coached USC women’s crew for almost 20 years, is Implicated in this cheating scandal. This guy is my hero. he coached me for a couple years when I was at UCLA and we won the PAC-10’s and pretty much every fucking thing and I even had a chance to row for England but I gave it up to go to medical school. anyway it was all due to this guy because the same team a year before with a different coach we didn’t do shit.

I was reading his bio to see what he done. I was reading the part about what he did at UCLA and they said something interesting- that one of his crews got bronze at the IRA which is the highest placing national result for a UCLA crew ever. The year after I left school I hosted that entire 1990 crew when they came out to Washington DC for a meet. I was there in med school and I took them all out to dinner with my starter wife (who wasn’t my wife yet but she was a women’s crew member for UCLA- how I met her) and they were a good bunch of kids and they went on to get a bronze at the IRA national championships.

Well, me and Ritchie Sax in 1985 took a boat to the IRA. The varsity 8 had a disappointing year and I was the only sophomore on the varsity boat in the varsity 8 boat. because of our placing at the PAC 10 championships we were eligible to row at the national championships but the boat didn’t feel they deserved it. I was like fuck that I worked my ass off I’m fucking going so Richie and I trained in a two man boat called a pair. It’s pretty hard to row and we had two weeks before the championship so basically we just got to the point where we weren’t sinking it before we have to leave for the race.

We qualified easily for the final. The coxless pair does not have a little dude steering for you which the eight-man boats do so as the bow person I had to steer the fucking thing by turning my foot and you know you get pretty involved rowing your guts out and you kind of forget about steering so we Ended up racing in lanes four, five and six. we didn’t get disqualified because we were so far ahead of those boats we didn’t interfere with them. It’s a 2000 m race and at the 1500 m Mark we were way ahead of everybody else and just cruising to a victory but then we realized we hadn’t practiced a wind up which is the final sprint the last 500 m and when we brought up the stroke rate the boat started crashing wildly side to side and we damn near sank it. Two other crews ended up nipping us at the finish line including guys we called the flying burrito Brothers; they had Hispanic last name. They went on to be chosen as the Olympic pair and I recall they ended up medaling but we fucking had them crushed.

We got bronze medals. We were pissed off; we shoulda won it. I should mention that the pair isn’t a marquee event; typically the best 8 oarsmen row the varsity 8, then the next 8 go to the JV boat. if your program is good and large and has the money the next best 4 row the 4man boat. It’s rare to be able to field a pair. So at the time it was unheard of on the West Coast and there werent too many 2 man boats on the East Coast. I don’t recall there being too many heats in our event maybe there were 15 boats entered. Varsity 8’s have 100’s for example.

But, we got Bronze in the IRA national championship. Which is, as I found out in Babraj’s bio, equal to the highest national ranking finish for a UCLA men’s intercollegiate crew ever- the varsity 8 did it in 1990. But we did it first and I guess the result was lost to history. The IRA has historical results back to 1999. But not 1985-1986.


Yeah. You fuckers have been reading posts by a fucking athletic GOD and didn’t even know.

Now you do.
 
   #3  

gsxrian

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So you idolize a cheat .... says a lot about your character!
 
   #4  
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We are humbled to be in your presence, digitally speaking.

But back to your old Coach... was he party to this admissions scandal? Did he participate? If so, he's a worthless fuck in my book.
 
   #5  
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So you idolize a cheat .... says a lot about your character!
It's gotta be hard to realize that someone you held in such high regard turned out to be "human" after all. We are all fallible but some make bigger mistakes, and for the worst of reasons (greed).
 
   #8  

nomad

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Those skiffs are cool. Always wanted to try a race. My sports were always on water but a lot faster :)
 
   #11  

CZLoco

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What was it you realized about yourself?
I missed that part, God.
 
   #12  
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simon520

simon520

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I realized that I and Ritchie Sax were the highest placing UCLA crew members in national competition in the 60+ year history of the Crew.

At the time it was a bit of a lark.

I should mention also since I’m pounding my fucking chest that we were doing Ergometer testing which is getting on this fucked up machine for six minutes and seeing who got the highest score. I was a returning junior having taken a year off to make sure my grades were good enough to get into medical school.

The year I was off, not rowing, zenon became our coach and won PAC-10’s and as a result they started getting international transfers on scholarship like one fucking dude from Greece who won the junior national fucking gold medals something or other And a few transfers including this one guy who was a fucking God who won a gold medal in Germany at the world championships in the eight -the first time team USA had done that.
So by this time our crew had world champions and national champions and me on it.

So they start doing their ergometer and this guy who was in the power section of the eight that won the world championship posted a fucking ridiculous score. The best in the country by far that year. He was 6’7” and just fucking ripped. Did marathons to warm up; that kind of shit.

Well I got on there and nobody expected anything but I crushed his fucking score by 300 points which was approximately 5% which was just unheard of and it was the top score posted in the country that year.

Even so I was not put on varsity because at 6 foot three I was almost the heaviest guy- clearly the strongest- but my technique wasn’t so good because I hadn’t rowed in prep school like a lot of these guys had. And what was frustrating when they swapped me into the boat I would slow it down because my technique just didn’t mesh with the other guys.

It wasn’t until two years later the final fucking race of the year and what ended up being my second to last race ever that I was put into the varsity because the JV boat which I had been in for two years finally beat the varsity. Imagine for two years, every single piece that we did and we had 8 to 20 pieces per workout whether they’d be short runs or long runs the varsity boat beat us every single time until that last week when we beat them. They beat us literally a thousand times in a row. Just kept pissing me off.

I remember Zenon coming up to me that week looking me in the eye and saying, “Outhwaite! I neeeed your power...” in a thick Polish accent while holding his hand up in front of his face like a chef proclaiming he’d made the most exquisite meal. Unfortunately for me there were a few witnesses and I couldn’t go anywhere without people asking me for “my power.” Which they “needed.” fuck.

We went on to beat Washington in the PAC-10 on lake Natoma in an upset. Washington was two seconds ahead of us all year until that final race. And I have to tell you that was shittygoing into the crew because the composition of that crew had not changed for two years (unless somebody graduated) and they were not pleased to have me and another guy in there. But they realized they were faster with me andthat boat just felt fucking fantastic. There’s something called “swing” which is when the boat starts literally flying I mean it doesn’t come out of the water but it feels like it and even though you’re pulling as hard as you can it feels effortless because there are seven other people pulling with you at that exact same time and it just feels effortless and we had that swing that whole race and we fucking flew. but they realize they were faster in that boat just felt fucking fantastic. There’s something called swing which is when the boat starts literally flying I mean it doesn’t come out of the water but it feels like it and even though you’re pulling as hard as you can it feels like no weight at all and we flew down that course.
Only ever felt swing a few times and that was in a few practice sessions the week I was put in the boat and in the warm up to the race and of course during the race.

Anyhow. That’s What I learned about myself- the best finish for a UCLA oarsman but it was Crew that opened my eyes to what’s possible out there. That a guy who was the immigrant son of a machinist and a hairdresser could hang with sons of senators and presidents and compete with the Harvards and Yale’s of the world and do just fine.

I would not have become a doc without the realization of just how much hard work I needed to put in but that I was perfectly capable of doing; it I just had to have my limits stretched.
 
   #13  
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simon520

simon520

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And Zenon Babraj is a cunt for pissing on the honor of everybody he let down.
This guy was really fucking amazing. At 17 he won the junior world championships in the single sculls.

As a result he was asked to enter this school for coaches. He told us that they had to be at least proficient in every single Olympic sport in other words he have to know how to put a shot and throw a javelin and run hurdles and polevault and literally every single Olympic sport he had to be able to at least do it .

He had to be competitive in at least 10 of them. In other words if he were to enter a regional championship he was expected to medal.

And he had to be world class in one sport.

So he was taken out of school and went into this training academy and since this was Eastern Europe and communist block and all that they were basically forced to do it and they were stuck in this camp but they treated him pretty well and gave him pretty good food and he made some statements about drugs you know performance-enhancing drugs and shit he had at least a passing knowledge of them. I suspect he had a doctors knowledge of em but I digress. We never used them.

so he’s coaching the Polish national team and has a chance to defect and jumps over the wall and gets shot at but makes it into west Germany. At least that’s the story he told us l; I suspect he was flown to a meet in a non-Soviet bloc area and just walked into an embassy somewhere but it makes for a good story .

This guy was truly amazing he revolutionized our training methods. We would actually work less hard in a lot of ways but it was a lot smarter. He taught us a bunch of different Olympic sports; we would cross train by going into the mountains and cross-country skiing for 10 hours for instance. He didn’t need any exercise equipment he taught us how to use our bodies as resistance. Our other coaches would literally beat the shit out of us and again in some ways we didn’t work as hard but we were much faster and of course his main contribution was technique. His rowing technique was literally perfect he would joke and say he was an old man but he would get in the boat and row with us and the boat would be miles faster. And while other coaches had tried to teach as really complex things to get us to understand his was deceptively simple he would just say “hang; you need to hang on the oar” and as simple as it sounds that’s exactly what you have to do. everything Falls into place if you do that.

I remember my first two years with other coaches we really didn’t have an idea of what made a crew fast we knew technique was important but our coaches felt we could overcome that with conditioning so they would beat the shit out of us and they were wrong because technique trumps everything.

I can look at 8 crews rowing and instantly pick out the one that’s going to win: it’s so obvious now but before Zanon we just didn’t know.

I recall looking at the Olympic final in the eights and it was just staggering to see how different the techniques were and really how lousy some of these boats looked and yet they were national champions for their countries and representing the Olympics. The commentators really couldn’t see it but it was like night and day to me. That’s thanks to Zenon.

But, Well he was very intelligent and very charismatic and tremendously talented he did have a character flaw. That man liked his pussy. If he was doing the shit he did back then now he’d be brought up on sexual harassment charges I’m sure. He broke up the marriage of two seniors this male and female oarsman couple were on the male and female crews respectively and he started fucking around with her and eventually this broke up their marriage. He married her and they’re still together.

So while he taught me a great deal, he is ultimately a piece of shit. Your heroes fall hard.
 
   #17  

rg500

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Didn't name it, didn't write it. It's about rowing in the 1936 Olympics...just thought Simon might be interested..
 
   #18  
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Fuck I just noticed...

I’m pretty sure I have a Polaroid of me and Christy canyon too :biggar:
 
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