Crew Is A Sport This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   I am not usually one for sports, and I'm not at all athletic. But after feeling left out by swarms of letter jackets that drift through my school, I decided to try some sport. I used to play softball with friends and my father, so I tried out for that team. I never realized how competitive girls could be about throwing a ball back and forth. Obviously I did not make that team. My next move was to find a non-cut sport. Track was out because I have a bad ankle and it really didn't turn me on. My other option: crew.

Not many schools have a crew team, but my school is fortunate to border a large lake. A few of my friends had previously been on the crew team and said they loved it. So why not, I'll try almost anything.

Of course I was one of the oldest novices and felt awkward, but later it was to my benefit because I had stronger arms. A lot of people will tease and say that crew is not a real sport and all you do is ride around in a boat all day. I think not.

Crew practice would basically consist of running a mile or more a day, calisthenics, and rowing up and down the lake a few times. This is not easy work.

The skulls, that hold eight people, have to be lifted out of the sheds and placed in the water. Since most of our boats are made of wood, they are quite heavy and need a number of girls to get them out. With all of the boats you must be very careful since they are so fragile. The bottoms of the boats are less than an 1/8th of an inch thick and cannot even be stepped on.

Number 8, or "stroke" sits directly in front of the cox and is in charge of leading the rest of the boat in strokes. This was a position I usually had, and I learned how important it was to take even, strong strokes so the crew members behind me could follow along. The only thing you're supposed to look at is the back of the person in front of you.

It's not very easy to row sometimes, especially in rough water and wind with heavy wooden oars. Almost all girls on the team had a handful of calluses and blisters from such hard work. But it's almost tolerable when you feel yourself skimming over the water or you've just won a race.

Before I started crew I might have agreed with those who didn't think it was a real sport. But let me tell you, now that I have completed a season, I definitely disagree. So when I wear my crew jacket, and people say it's not a real sport, I ask them when the last time was they lifted an oar. n

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Coxn4Christ said...
Dec. 9, 2011 at 7:29 pm
Rowing rocks!
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