2002 - 2003 Manifestos
Jim Fields - Men's Captain
I may not be the world's, or even lst & 3rd's best rower, but I do feel that I would do a good job as
Men's and Overall Captain for 2002-3. There is an important distinction between being good on the
river, and good off it, and I have many ideas and abilities which I think make me suitable for the job.
My name is Jim Fields (obviously) and I am a first year
studying compsci, although I plan to change to natsci next
year. I took a gap year before coming to Cambridge, and I
feel that the presentation and communication skills I learnt
within the sales department of IBM will help me in my role as
Captain. I had never rowed before coming to Cambridge - in
fact, I never really did much sport - and I have thoroughly
enjoyed the experience. Rowing is appealing because people
start on a level playing field, and over the year I have
continually been committed to lst & 3rd, both on and off the
river. I rowed in the 2nd Novice VIII in Michaelmas, the 3rd
Lent VllI, and now probably the 4th May VIII. I am not
ashamed of the fact that I'm not in the top boat, but in fact feel
that it will be more useful to me as Captain to have such
extensive knowledge of the lower boats, which is, after all,
where the majority of people are. I have had positions of authority in the past, so am unafraid of
responsibility and hard work.
My 3 Big Issues
The biggest problem facing the Club in its quest for dominance of the river is lack of rower
retention. Every year, many new people come into the club, mostly, but not all, as novices.. Theyare
trained to row competently, and usually have a lot offun. However, far too many of these people then
stop rowing at a serious level either straight away or later on. The popularity of 'joke boats' for the
bumps highlights this problem. Many people who choose to row this way are perfectly capable of
seats in more serious boats, if they so desired, I would like to introduce training schemes that require
only lor 2 sessions a week, either on the water or off, similar to most other sports, so that we can
keep these people in the Club.
The next problem that needs addressing is the 'cliqueness' which permeates the Boat Club.
Many people feel disaffected and disillusioned due to the attitudes of a small group of mainly top
boaters. It would be my greatest achievement to make sure that I st & 3rd belongs to all of its
members, and not just the top two boats. Everybody should have an equal voice, and feel that their
opinions and ideas are not prejudiced by either their boat number or their sex. This also does not help
in the yearly struggle to keep novices in the club
It is often unclear what and how the Committee does what it does. As Overall Captain, I
would endeavour to make the workings of the committee more transparent, and also to make sure that
individuals know how we are addressing any issues that are raised by them. I would try and arrange
to have 2 general meetings per tenn, and I would challenge all members of the Boat Club to come and
hold the rest of the committee, and I, to account over our actions. This increase in communication,
and subsequently democracy, would also help to alleviate the disillusionment I mentioned above.
By dealing with the above issues, I feel that the club would improve in two ways. Firstly,
because of the larger number of people rowing, there would be an increased chance of discovering
someone with the potential to be a trialist, leading to higher quality top boats. Secondly, there would
be much greater depth for the lower boats to choose from, resulting in superior crews for them also.
There are many other things for which either the Mens' or Overall Captain is responsible for:
I would try to address the lack of coxes in the Club, through making coxing more enjoyable
and satisfying. Coxes should be regarded as valuable for coaching assistance, as well as 'merely'
steering and shouting. They should be properly respected within the boat, e.g. no talking in the boat
or '4-seat coxing' (things I have done too much of myself). Conversely, during the crew chat, rowers
should be able to tell a cox what they liked or didn't about their coxing, especially calls.
I would try and purchase some more lockers which would operate on a use-per-outing basis.
While I understand the need for senior rowers' owning' lockers, I also feel that provision should be
made for those in the lower boats who wish to keep their belongings more secure.
I would try to increase competitiveness within the Club, by having more regular fitness
testing, whether that be on the ergs or using weights, then keeping charts or similar, so that not only
can an individual follow his own progress, but he can see how he is doing relative to others. Prizes at
Boat Club dinners for the best, most improvement, etc, will aid in this effort.
Training Camps are the best and easiest way to improve rowing, due to the intensity. I wou]d
make sure that training camps occur before each tenn for those aiming for the top 3 boats, and also I
would encourage, either through myself or the LBCs, a training camp for those in the lower boats, as
they often miss out on these opportunities.
I would make sure that I personally know at least the name of every current member of the
Club, and I would ensure that everyone knew tllat they could come to me with any ideas, or if they
needed any advice.
In addition to the above, these points are relevant for the Overall Captaincy .
I believe a security camera by the main upstairs door, as wen as possibly in other locations
outside the boathouse would be invaluable for security .I know the previous Captain has started work
on doing this. I would also cmcourage other Concges to do the same in the Captains' meetings.
At the moment I feel we are not getting the best value for money sponsorship~wise. As well
as possible re~negotiation of the old one, I would investigate getting a new deal with a second
sponsor. Also a change in the constitution to allow logos on race kit and equipment may lead to the
possibility of more money. More money can be used to fmance all the other items that people would
like, such as replacement of the old ergs with Concept lIs, a RowPerfect, new electrical equipment, as
well as the obvious ideas of subsidising of rowing activities and purchase of new boats, oars, etc.
Although being new to the committee, I would feel comfortable being in control, and would
offer support and assistance to any member of the committee -anything from being 8. shoulder to cry
on, to using my room for meetings. However I would demand conunitment and results from them,
and would not be afraid to chastise someone who was not pulling their weight.
I would canvass the opinions of Boat Club members on the issues being debated at Captains ,
meetings before attending them, so as to ensure that I represent the views of the Boat Club accurately,
instead of voicing just my own.
To sum up; some people are good rowers, some are good coaches, and some are good managers, so
when you vote this Sunday, make sure you pick the best person for the job. choose Jim Fields.
Candidate for Mens' and Overall Captain 2002-3
4th May VIII