Welcome to the wonderful world of rowing–a competitive, varsity sport that commands respect for its athleticism, its synchronization and its ardent team focus. Here in East Grand Rapids we are fortunate to have access to Reeds Lake, our own boat house and some fierce coaching, which allows us to form a highly competitive team in one of the fastest growing high school sports.
A Short History of Crew as a Sport
Rowing as a team sport developed in the 1800’s, notably at Oxford and Cambridge in England and at Yale and Harvard in the United States. The Harvard/Yale race, first held in 1852, is the oldest inter-collegiate athletic event in America. The first amateur sports association in this country was a rowing organization — Philadelphia’s Schuylkill Navy, in 1858 — and the firstnational governing body for a sport in America was the National Association for Amateur Oarsmen, founded in 1872.
Rowing at East
Rowing is hard work. It requires intense physical
and mental shape. But its also fun and inclusive. Because there are no “stars” on a successful crew, its truly a team sport where members support one another.
And crew is rare in that most team members do not have prior rowing experience. So each year new “novice” rowers come together and grow as a team.
At East, we have two seasons: Fall and Spring. Practices happen once a day, everyday, for two hours. Regattas are typically on the Saturdays, in a spirited outdoor envirnment.
Crew means you’ll have a son or daughter who is physically fit and self-disciplined. They will probably have higher grades than if they did not participate in such a challenging sport. Athletes learn to set goals, budget their time, and expect more of themselves. They will certainly have an unusual and attractive activity to list on their resumes. They will be associating with a very fine peer group that will teach them an enormous amount about teamwork and their own capacity to strive and achieve excellence. The opportunities for collegiate rowing and scholarships are tremendous.
For nearly all rowers, however, the mystical feeling of “swing” seems to be the major reward of crew. Whether winning or losing a race, or even just in a practice session, when everyone is rowing together in perfectly synchronized timing, and the boat is balanced properly and just gliding through the water, individual rowers can lose themselves in the perfection of the moment. These few moments are enough to justify the hours of practice and the physical exhaustion needed to create them. It is a beautiful thing.