Boat is Life

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Photo by Mr. Shneller

Yorktown Crew rowing on the Potomac River

Andrea Henriquez, Sentry Staff Reporter

As I walk through the crowded hallways of Yorktown, there are always the pleading cries from students who are dreading going to practice. Whether it is the fall season and boys yell towards one another about the suicides they are going to run for football, or a day in the early spring when the soccer girls are discussing their positions, there are always conversations about the sport all of us seemingly grudgingly play. Most sports are easy to comprehend–except when it comes to crew. It is almost as if the many aspects of crew are spoken in a hidden, unexplainable language. What is the big deal about doing a 2K? Why are there always shorter people yelling at the taller people as the coaches walk back and forth? And the biggest question of all, how do eight people row in synchronization and have a giant boat glide smoothly along the water?

As a freshman, I had many similar questions. I had many friends in my gym class who would finish each day but dressing out of our uniforms and into spandex and tees. I often watched as they would lie on the floor and laugh hysterically about “how bad they were going to do” on that particular 2k test. I always listened in and thought to myself how easily I could erg two kilometers. It was not until my sophomore year that I had a wake up call about the nightmare that the tests really were.

It was completely nerve racking to be racing one another. All of the ergs are set up in one straight line, among a small hallway in the back of the school. I still can recall doing my first 2k and having no idea how fast I should have been going, so I began quickly just as everyone else. I did not realize was that most of the test was about pacing myself, and I burned out quickly. When I looked at the monitors of the girls around me, there was only a feeling of defeat.

As a junior in highschool, this is only my second year in the so-called “cult.” The season almost never begins on time due to cold winter temperatures freezing the potomac river, a place rowers learn to call home. So, the beginning of the season is never certain. The truth is, there is a lot that goes into crew. It is hard, if not impossible, to understand unless you have experience. However, it is a feeling like no other sport when you push longer and faster to beat another boat by a mere second. There is nothing quite as powerful as oars hitting the water and gliding along as the sun goes down. There is also nothing as motivating as a coxswain (the short person in the stern) screaming during the 1500 kilometer race during the power 10 strokes. The whole race is rowed in a matter of minutes after months of continuous, heart pumping training. However, in the end, rowing is worth all the frustration and training for moments of glory when bringing in the gold.