Calling Two National Races
June 08, 2012
Ten years ago, he was leading his boats to victory at regattas like the Intercollegiate Rowing Association and Pac-10 Championships, coxing California-Berkeley’s second eight and guiding the United States’ coxed pair to a silver medal at the 2002 World Championships.
Today, Joe Manion is still running the show, but as a USRowing referee. He happens to be serving as Chief Referee for this weekend’s 2012 USRowing Youth National Championships in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
It’s a huge time commitment, but since referees are volunteers they have to make a living elsewhere. In Manion’s case, he must sacrifice some refereeing opportunities in the months leading up to each presidential election to tend to his professional job as the Northeast Campaign Services Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“I got involved with politics and have been working on campaigns,” Manion said. “In this election cycle, I’m with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In the year of an election, I tend to not get as many free weekends as I would like.”
Manion plays a large role in helping the Democratic Party’s campaigns meet their goals to help put them in a position to be successful come November. A key part of his effort includes fundraising.
The former coxswain hasn’t gotten out on the water in a shell much since his second place finish in the men’s coxed pair event at the 2002 world championships, but old rowing habits die hard.
“Now that work has sort of taken over my life, this is my way of being able to stay involved with the sport,” Manion said.
Manion estimates refereeing 15 or more regatta days so far this season, which is actually far few than he’s used to doing during “normal” years. The typical years he indicates, of course, are the three in between elections.
But even the especially heated race between parties vying for the next four years in the White House couldn’t keep him away from one of his favorite regattas.
“This is my fourth year and second year as Chief (referee) here, and this regatta in particular I’ve had on my calendar. I was going to be here regardless.”
Though he admits to getting 40 or more e-mails on his Blackberry from his other job, he still makes the juggling act work. You won’t see much of him in September or October as the election process becomes critical, but after the youth nationals, he is planning on wrapping up his summer of refereeing with one last event at the junior and senior world championship trials in July.
“Then my election calendar will take over my life instead of my rowing calendar.”
After his last regatta for the summer he said he’ll be hitting the road, making visits to the Democrat cabinets and their staffs in order to determine where he and his campaign committees can further help the presidential push.
His jam-packed schedule is full of time commitment trade-offs, but life does exist outside of his two jobs. Manion spends time with his one-year-old son and his wife, who also happens to be a USRowing referee and former coxswain.