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The Mizzou Crew team is unlike any other I have ever been on, and I have played with my fair share of athletic organizations.  I started playing softball when I was in first grade, began competitive travel softball in fifth grade, began basketball in sixth grade, cheerleading in seventh, tennis my sophomore year of high school, and if they had allowed me to pick up any other sport, I’m sure I would have tried it. 

Why switch to rowing in college?  

The informational meeting had already passed, without my knowledge, and, as a freshman from the suburbs of Chicago, I still did not know many of my peers.  One night, when I went out with a group of newly formed friends, we began talking about college athletics.  A girl chimed in that she was on the rowing team and said I could still join.  She told me what a great workout it was, how many cool people were involved, and that we got to travel across the country to compete.  She had my full attention, until she hesitantly mentioned “Oh, and I wake up at 4:45 every morning for practice.”.  Though I am a morning person, I told her I would think about, fully intending not to join the team.

After the group dispersed, I began thinking about what it would be like as a collegiate rower and how my friends and family would react when I told them I was on the team.  It was something I had never heard of before, except for in the movies, but decided to contact the coach and go to one practice, no strings attached. 

I met the team at 5:10 am in the Virginia Avenue Parking Garage and we left for Perche Creek at 5:15.  Once there, everyone went for a 15 minute warm-up jog and came back for a quick meeting where the coach told everyone the line-up for the day.  I was set to be in the launch (motor boat) with the coach to observe how practice commenced. It was love at first stroke.  After five minutes on the water, I couldn’t wait to get in a shell and try it for myself.  A new sport, something new to perfect, and my competitive nature found its perfect release. 

Though I was the last one to join for the fall season, you would never have guessed it by the bond I created with this amazing group of athletes.  Something special happens when you spend two hours together each morning, looking and feeling your absolute best, complete with bed-hair and no make-up.

My decision to join the team was without a doubt one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far in my life.  Later this week I will post some of the fun times from our last week of rowing before our final regatta of the spring season.

 

Photo by Barry Gray

Photo by Barry Gray

 

 

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