I have several goals in my life. One of which is obtain as many promotional awards as possible for the most unconventional, intriguing, or obscure sports events as possible. Many men and women have trophies or awards for conventional sport such as baseball or basketball. But how many people can claim they competed in the Riverhead Cardboard Boat Race? Only a blessed few, and I was one of them.
Now your first question may be: "What is this cardboard boat race?" Well my adoring fans, it's an amazing race where you build a boat entirely out of cardboard and duct tape. THAT'S IT! You can paint it for decoration, but nothing waterproof. Then you must row this boat down the Peconic River, around a buoy, and back. That's right folks, you have to get into this water soluble boat that you try to make insoluble, and row it down a river. If you are the first across the finish line you win. Now this is no easy feat with one person, but my boat called for five rowers.
After months of collecting cardboard, and a week of construction, the beast was complete. Thank goodness we had our promotional box cutters. Standing at 14 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 6 feet tall, weighing in at approximately 75 pounds, it's made out of cardboard boxes and will chew up the competition, behold... THE BOX MUNCHER! A Viking longboat with a Viking crew just as tough as the name suggests.
June 25 2011, D-Day. As the sun rose over the quaint town of Downtown Riverhead (that's in Long Island, NY for those unfamiliar with the area), my team was en route to the river. We had to be there early, for a 14 foot vessel is not easily transportable, and had to be reassembled at the dock. As I checked my boat and my crew in with the supervisor, we were all given promotional t-shirts endorsing the events and all the sponsors. It was a good quality shirt and even included some of the instructions and rules of the event.
As the day grew on, more and more people began arriving. Showing by the hundreds at points Many were spectators, but there were plenty of people showing up with their cardboard creations. After posing for many photos and interviews with local news stations, the races began. My boat was in the last race, due to its size and the age of my crew. As I watch, I see boats that seemed to be built very sturdy began to sink or fall apart. And for the first time, I actually felt nervous. Their boats were colorfully decorated, built fairly well (I thought so at least), and had less people in it. How was my single layer cardboard boat, with hollow boxes filling out the bottom, going to hold over 1100 pounds of man? All well, there's no going back now. The fourth race is getting ready and we are the dock waiting to put our boat in the water.
Here I am, stand at the edge of the dock with my crew, holding a boat over our heads, waiting to put the boat in the water. I watch as boat after boat go in, then their crew. and row to the starting line. Now it's our turn. We line up at the edge of the dock and drop the beast in. Sure enough, it floats. One by one, we begin to get on the boat. It rocks back and forth, but it stays afloat as all 1100 pounds of us get on. We row to the starting line, bumping into the competition and trash talking along the way. We knew we had this race in the bag. It floats and we have the most rowers in our boat. The countdown begins, our grips tighten around our oars to the point our arms begin to shake. Sweat beads down our face from the blistering sun. Months of planning, and many long hours of constructing all came down to this. The final horn blows, and we're off.
All at once, the roar of over twenty five teams' oars splashing into the water was deafening. Water was splashing us all around as we begin to descend down the river. Boats began sinking immediately while others sprinted to the front. Tempers are flaring, and adrenaline is pumping. The crowd cheering and screaming, getting the teams riled up in the hopes that they row faster. As the boats began to get near the buoy, some of my fans on shore were wondering, "Where's the Box Muncher?". Well, if you looked back, not too far from the starting line, you would see us, rowing in circles. It turns out during all this time we spent planning and building, we neglected one crucial aspect of this entire endeavor. We did not learn how to row a boat. We were from Queens, where were we going to learn how to row a boat? It was at this point we had decided to give up on crossing the finish line and do what Vikings do best, pillage and plunder. We turned our boat into the oncoming boats and tried to disrupt and destroy as much as we could. However, the race ended with one of our competitors narrowly escaping our carnage and crossing the finish line. One boat was not so lucky as they sank upon impact of the mighty Box Muncher. Those little girls now know the true wrath of the Vikings!
Needless to say, we didn't win any of the promotional trophies. However we did receive an award for participation. The town and the crowd loved us so much that the mayor personally invited us back for next year. Also, I actually built a boat out of cardboard that held over 1100 pounds, and it didn't sink! I guess there's a silver lining in everything. However, let this be clear to all the people of Downtown Riverhead, and people wishing to participate in the race next year, WE WILL BE BACK! WE WILL BE MORE PREPARED! SO WATCH OUT! The quaint town of Downtown Riverhead has no idea what they are in store for next year!