Objectives of having a food table

Rowing is a strange behavior. For about 5 minutes the rowers put out their maximum exertion.They burn an amazing amount of calories stress their muscles. They must eat long before the race to allow their bodies time to process the food. Some types of food are better before the race. Afterwards it is important that they resupply their bodies within about half an hour. Again some foods are more effective for this.

On race day we can have up to 12 races at 10 or 15 minutes intervals so it can take several hours to complete all the races. The teams have to be fed as they come off the water and we have to make sure to pace the food so that there is still food for the last boats.

Since we need a food table for the students and parents sometimes feel hungry too, we might as well turn it into a fun day out although we have to organized to operate under difficult weather situations since rowing is one sport that mostly ignores the weather.

Tips for Running Andover Food Table

We depend on volunteers to run the table and sign up to bring the food. The menu is created with the nutritional needs of the rowers in mind but feel free to suggest your favorite dish. Over the years we have had some interesting and exotic options. We run a sign up menu to ensure that we at least have the minimum essential food we need.
So for this coming spring we have 8 weeks of racing. We have many tasks that need to be fulfilled at the races. We need volunteers to be responsible for coordinating the food table. It is best if we have two people assigned each week. Hopefully we will have enough people so that each volunteer will only have to do one week.
Many of of our parents and friends live a long distance for the races and cannot attend. We try to help them feel the spirit of the races by publishing photographs and stories of the races on the website.
This spring we will need people to take photographs. Sam normally does this but he will not be able to attend all the races this year. Taking photographs is almost a full time job on race day as we try to get photographs of every boat leaving the dock, finishing their race and coming back into the dock. Almost the most important photographs are the coxswains being thrown into the water if their boats are victorious. Volunteers need to have a camera that can take pictures of boats 150 feet away on the water.
We would also like to have some volunteer reporters to write the story of race day. This is your chance to shown your inspirational side.
Please consider contributing to the spirit o Andover Crew by participating in these tasks.
Click here for the type of help needed.Parent Volunteer Sign Up

Tips on what NOT TO DO at the food table.

Rowers are NOT supposed to eat anything heavy an hour or so before the race
If they do, most of them will be throwing up when they are racing. As food table person you will need to gently remind them of this guideline for their own good.

Do NOT put all your food out on the table at once
As food table person you need to stagger the placement of food. The food should be replenished when a new boat comes to the table.
This is to make sure every student has food. Usually the higher boats go later and these are the students with the biggest appetites.

Tips on what TO DO at the food table.

The weather is a big influence on the food table. For very cold and wet weather we need to try and produce hot food. For very warm weather we need lots of ice and extra cold drinks.
Each week we have to remind Coach Washburn of things that we need him to bring.
For home races we usually need two tables, two coolers filled with ice and one tent.
For away races we need two tents, one for food and one for the rowers in case it rains or is very hot.
If the weather looks like it will be very windy, we remind Coach Washburn to bring some sandbags that he has to tie down the tent

Always make sure that there is enough water. We can do without Gatorade but we cannot be short of water.

For away game: Always have a designated parent that can get there early to setup the table.
Always make sure that whoever gets there first has two dozen bottles of water.
This water is for the coaches and students that have to get on the water early for the first races. They bring water with them to have at the end of the race.

For home race put out snacks like pretzels, party mix races and granola bars at the beginning of race day.
For away race or early start home race: you can put out some bagels and cream cheese and bananas too.

For days when the temperature is in the fifties or below we need hot water.
Students can make hot chocolate or cup of soup to keep warm.

We have two 3 gallons hot water containers.
These will keep the water warm provided they are prepared properly. This means filling the container the night before with hot water to warm up the containers. Then on race day, empty out this water and fill with boiling water.
This will ensure that the hot water will stay hot the whole day.

Store cookies and brownies under the table until after the race. This type of food is only for after the race.

Make sure the coaches have water before the race start, food when the race is over.
It is a long day for them. They have to drive the trailer there and back.

The Salisbury weekend is a bit different because it is the boys only race and it is always away.

The tent will be put up and taken down by the rowers and loaded on the trailer
at the end of the day as soon as the boats are loaded. The coaches like to close up fairly soon after the last race so we have to start clearing the table as soon as the last boat has eaten.
Have all the students finish the food and help clear and load the tables onto the trailer.

For away race especially ask if the students want to take any remaining food on the bus for the trip home.

Be prepared for wet windy days. Put paper napkin in a container so that they will stay together.

People who sign up may not always bring what they sign up; you just have to adjust accordingly.
Bread should be sliced about 1.5" inches thick, with a cut in the middle for putting the orange chicken
or whatever meat. This way the meat will stay in the bread and we can cut down on paper goods.
Where possible use napkin and not paper plates. We want to keep trash to a minimum.

The students prefer Market Basket French bread. The fancy hard French breads are not so popular.

Extra: Always carry some spare plastic sheet, to provide a dry floor in the student's tent
if the ground is wet when we arrive. So that they can stay dry out of the weather.

The students will usually do anything that needs to be done. We just have to ask them. At the end of the day they will help clear the tables and pack up the tent. The toughest part of being table parent for the day is having to worry about all 100 students and not just your favorite rower or coxswain. The table should not be left unattended. We try to accommodate special requests if we have students with diet restrictions. We try to make sure there is enough food for any student with special requirements for health, religious or personal reasons. Success is pouring a band of tired, well feed students back onto the buses. We have been told that one reason the students come back every year is the food. Go Blue!!
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