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Here we are in Topeka, Kansas for the Great Plains Rowing Championship.  It is the last regatta of the season and we are lucky enough to stay in a luxurious Motel 6 for the two day event. 

The regatta began on Saturday, May second although a few rowers from our team were still on the road.  Unfortunately, at the coach’s cox’s meeting in the morning, we were greeted by some less than encouraging news. Apparently, there was a schedule change that forced us to scratch some races due to the fact that our team was not entirely there.  The morning had us scrambling to find a rower to fill in for our women’s open four while simultaneously rigging our boat, getting on the water, and trying to reach starting line in time. 

By the time we pulled up to the start, our race had taken off and we ended up racing with the varsity women’s four – with three MU novices in the boat.  We held our own and gave a respectable performance, especially considering the fact that our team had yet to get the chance to eat breakfast or buy groceries.

Since this regatta lasted two days, our final race on Saturday wasn’t until five o’clock at night.  To pass the time between races, we initiated a mean game of wiffle ball in the wet muddy field by the river.  The teams were a mixture of Mizzou, St. Cloud, and SLU.   

The bonding between teams is one thing that I particularly love about rowing.  Call it a gentleman’s sport, an Ivy League sport, or whatever you want, but there is truly nothing like it the world of athletics.  Although rivalries exist, the level of respect and fun in what we do is unmatched. 

For instance, the oh-so-hated KU rowing club trailered our boats for us when we really needed it in the fall.  Can you picture the KU football team trucking our equipment to an away game?  No, I didn’t think so. 

 

Roasting Marshmallows - Photo by Valerie Bu

Roasting Marshmallows - Photo by Valerie Bu

 

Even this weekend, the St. Cloud team made us dinner and we got to know each other better over a homemade mean and s’mores for dessert.  We also borrow and lend rowers for races quite frequently; thus, it is not uncommon to see a boat cross the finish with multiple colored jerseys and different oars.

 

 

Rowing is the only team sport I have ever been a part of that has truly embraced the definition of what it means to be a team.  If you work as individuals in a boat you will NEVER reach your full potential, but when a boat of rowers becomes a crew… that is a beautiful thing.

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