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More than sport

Mettam and the pickles

Peta Rule

Jar of pickles Once upon a time, back before the Rowing Online Management System, personal grade points, Champion Lakes and before WARC owned any European carbon at all, the Swan River Rowing Club's Mettam headrace had a fairly unusual tradition.

The tradition, for those who remember it, was the awarding of a large jar of pickles to the crew which recorded the slowest time over the three-mile stretch.

The purpose of the large jar of pickles was something I was never sure of - perhaps it was some sort of attempt by the Canning Bridge natives to humiliate those who did not win - a South Of The River haka-equivalent, if you will.

However the years they awarded it, WARC developed its own tradition in relation to those pickles. You see, WARC quite often "won" the jar of pickles: As one of the early headraces of the season, it was the race we encouraged our new athletes who had learned to row during the summer months to attempt.

It didn't end there: For quite a few years, the athletes who won the jar of pickles at the start of the season would then go on to pick up a State Championship at the end.

So for WARC, the Mettam has a special place in the calendar. This is a celebration of our new athletes who are just starting out on their rowing journey.

It is a comfortable distance to give those who haven't competed before to attempt, and gives them the opportunity to get out with the senior athletes and have a go, before we get to the more intense pennant regattas.

To those WARC athletes who did compete in their first race on Sunday (and would have won the pickle jar if the tradition continued): Congratulations! We hope you're nursing your new blisters with a sense of pride.

It would have been so much easier to think "oh, we're not experienced enough", "it's too hard", "it's too far" or any other zillion excuses: The win is in the attempt. Thank you.

14_04_27 Satori edited

(I should point out this was not the only tradition associated with the Mettam: It was also tradition for the old members of WARC to bellyache about how the Mettam should actually be a WARC-hosted headrace given George Mettam himself was a Westies life member, and as far as we know never did don the dark blue of SRRC. George won a Kings Cup or two, back in the days that meant competing in the UK and you can learn about him on page 16 of the Guy Negus History.).