My roommate and I awoke this morning to the beeping of my alarm at the wonderfully quiet, dark and early hour of 4:45 A.M. Though I would have loved to toss my alarm out the window, we instead rolled out of bed, hastily put on spandex shorts, grabbed our backpacks and stumbled out of bed to join about 40 other members of the W&M Rowing Club. Why you ask, would anyone, college students no less, torture themselves in this manner?
Two famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) words: Morning practice.
Being out on the water on a rowing shell in the early morning is a thrill unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Let me try to describe. Imagine looking up at the sky, watching as the brilliant medley of stars transforms into a gorgeous sun rise as the sun rises above the tree-lined horizon. You listen as the wind rustles the reeds growing around the creek where we launch our boats, and hear the water of the Chickahominy River lapping against the side of the boat. See yourself straining against your oar, pulling it through the water as fast as you can to make your contribution to the eight-man boat, knowing full well that everyone else is doing the same. Pretty awesome, huh?
Following practice, we’ll all pile back into our cars and return to campus, whether it’s to a team breakfast at Sadler Center or, in my case, to 8am Organic Chemistry, where we sit together in our still-slightly damp workout gear. It’s a wonderful sight.
Sure, waking up that early can take a toll on you…but that’s what naps are for!
I joined the club last semester, having never touched and oar before in my life, and already have a long list of highlights and memories. One of the best: last semester my boat of four fellow novice males won a medal in a regatta in Tennessee, coming from behind the past 500 meters to squeeze into the third place. This year we’ll even take a trip up to Boston, MA to race a boat in the famed Head of the Charles Regatta. We’re a club, but we’re still competitive.
As a club sport, W&M Rowing accepts all interested new-comers in both fall and spring, no experience necessary. One of my roommates started rowing freshman year of high school, I started last semester, and my third roommate began practicing with the team just last week. And though crew definitely takes up a large portion of our time, all of the rowers manage to get involved with other organizations, Greek life, and keep up with classes.
Rowing. It’s timeless, challenging, rewarding, and one of the best decisions I made last semester. Best part of all, it’s only one of the hundreds of equally fun opportunities here at W&M.
Class of 2013