Thursday, August 11, 2011

ESPN3 Digest II

Editor's note: ESPN3 Digest is a weekly series, in which one or several noteworthy events streaming freely on the Worldwide Leader's oddly comprehensive web channel are highlighted for your edification and (hopefully) delight. Times are Eastern, events are resolutely non-essential.

Sunday, August 14th
6:05 AM: International Canoe Federation: Canoe World Championships: Czech Republic
This is maybe the least sexy sporting event ever, at least conceptually. I spent my formative years in Northern New England, and much of my summers involved canoeing around the many lakes of Vermont, New Hampshire, Southern Maine, and the Adirondack region of New York, capitalizing on the canoe's main virtue: it is a form of flat-water travel as elegant as it is efficient. Two people can easily ferry lodging, several days' worth of supplies1 and whatever else they want in the belly of a vessel perfectly designed to knife through calm waters. This is the boat's telos; its narrow-hipped build is as good at tracking straight lines as it is poor in turbulence2. White-water canoes exist, but they are rocker-bottomed designs with air bladders fore and aft that always seem to be nothing so much as kayaks born in the wrong bodies3 And yet the ICF is at it, racing canoes (fine, and kayaks) in whitewater, in slalom courses, in every manner of circumstance except remote, peaceful trips in the wilderness. Because they're doing it in the Czech Republic, it is airing stupid early on Sunday morning. I won't be watching, but you should be, so you can tell me about it. I'm hoping at least one of the events looks like this:

1: Food, beer, fire supplies, s'mores makings, more beer...
2: If you have ever tumbled out of a canoe while trying to get in or capsized a friend's by leaning on its gunwale, you know exactly what I mean.
3: It is the policy of this blog, of course, to respect the right of all boats to whatever self-identification they desire.

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