Keith Hansel’s Rowboat Experience


For the longest time, on a trip with the Marion Boys Club to our property, Keith Hansel had invested much time and effort into allowing him the chance to fly solo with the rowboat. I finally gave in and as Keith shoved off into his new adventure he was most confident.

Within seconds from shore, he began over compensating with one oar and then lost his other into Big Bass Lake. He immediately tried to lean over on the side he lost that oar but he couldn’t seem to reach it. That effort actually caused him to drift further away from his target.  From that point forward he was getting nowhere fast as he tried his best to row the boat but always found himself in circles.

Yes, circles, but eventually he saw himself being moved by the current toward the quagmire swamp to the west of our beach area.  It was at that point that he asked for help.  I jumped into the second rowboat, recovered his oar, and rowed to where he now found himself.  As I returned his oar to him he asked for no lecture but none was forthcoming. 

The next day he tried that same maneuver again and this time he was most successful.  Yet his first rowboat solo experience he would never forget.  Many other boys have also had an experience with letting an oar get away from them so he was not the first.  But he learned from his experience and became a real great rower that summer.  And when the boys rowed, I didn’t have to as I became the rider.  You see there are fringe benefits in teaching boys how to row a boat.

One thought on “Keith Hansel’s Rowboat Experience

  1. I remember losing that oar in the water! I was so embarrased and a little scared as I was out there all by myself and I wanted to show you that I was ready for anything. You never rubbed it into me but only encouraged me more to try it solo again. I had forgotten all about this. That was a great summer!

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