The son of two elite paddlers, Henry has been in a kayak since the age of 3 ½ (well, other than for meals and bedtime stories). He’s been competing in junior events since he was 6.
He was in Maryland recently – as was I – to take in the USA Canoe/Kayak Slalom National Championships at the Bethesda Center of Excellence training center. There was one small detail that differentiated our visits though. Henry was there to compete in the National Championships.
You know what I like about sports? I mean aside from all of the obvious things that would motivate a previously sane individual to spend a year of his life chasing down events to watch?
It’s the unexpected and the ironic. And I found both at the USA Canoe/Kayak Slalom National Championships, where the unlikeliest of partnerships was on display.
The event venue, the Bethesda Center of Excellence whitewater course, is a man-made one, measuring 40 feet across and a quarter mile long. The beauty of this artificial river – and what makes it truly unique – is that the water that tumbles through it is always at least ten degrees warmer than that of the neighboring Potomac River, whose western shore runs parallel to the course and serves as its runoff point.
“How can this be?” the alert reader might ask. An excellent question.