My attention was recently drawn to the Warwick Rowers website. And there, on the home page, in all its youthful glory, dressed in purple (occasional draped in purple) was a collection of (very tasteful) photos of very well honed (young) men posing for the 2018 charity calendar.
I didn’t know if I wanted to go and watch them train or go and actually train with them if that was the result of rowing.
In case you haven’t come across them before now, the Warwick Rowers is a social enterprise and gay/straight alliance that dates back to 2009 when their first calendar launched. Producer Angus Malcolm and generations of male rowers at the University of Warwick Boat club have achieved global recognition through their fundraising initiative and public awareness campaign that delivers a range of products to around 80 countries every year and reaches more than 140 countries through its viral messaging. At least that is what the website will tell you.
Its true that they promote positive, inclusive and respectful attitudes towards people of all genders and sexualities through their content and they aim to promote sport, particularly team sport, as an inclusive and supportive route to personal growth for everyone with all profits donated to the Warwick Rowers Charitable Trust – but wow – what a way to do it.
Anyone looking at those shots can’t help but to wonder at the virtues of rowing. Maybe that rower at the gym now looks a little more appealing. Honed, athletic figures…broad shoulders and the occasional wicked smile…and it’s a team sport…you get to chat and drink and build relationships with some great people. I wonder what the criteria is for being part of the University of Warwick rowing team? Is it based on skill or is it based on a camera shoot? Either way – do I really care? Probably not.
Those lads have raised a lot of money for charity and good on them. I do wonder if it would have been as popular if it had been an all women’s rowing team. In today’s society of political correctness, would it have been slammed as degrading? Or maybe we are used to semi-naked women adorning our magazines and TV’s that the appeal isn’t quite the same. Does it matter? I don’t really think so – its raising money for a good cause. And I’m not here to argue over the way they do it. I’m a happy observer.
What I do know is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder…but there are some things, we (male and female), agree on. Whereas we may all be part of the very normal masses with our lumps, bumps and beer belly’s…it is nice occasionally to spend a moment in our heads looking at those beautiful men, thinking how much fun it would be to have done the calendar, wishing we were the photographer or stylist and dreaming…ah yes the day dreams – in fact it is almost enough for me to want to take up rowing….almost…