It's More Than a Sport by Bert Spunberg
A highlight of my time at PCRA since joining the Masters team in 2018 has been… the Grab Bag regatta! The idea of being in a boat with my kids and trying to keep up with them (both are on the race team) was just incredibly exciting, and deliver on the excitement, it did! Before the start, I made sure to warn the young people in our boat that because the warm-up was a bit short for me, we might want to take it easy on the stroke rate (28 maybe?). After the race - which mercifully was only 1,000 meters - I asked them: “that felt a bit high, didn’t it”? They all cracked up, and told me they had maintained a 34 throughout! It was a great day. I think they loved it. I certainly did.
Ever since my kids started rowing at PCRA, I have been very impressed by the quality that permeates through the program. I am not just talking about the technical quality - coaching, technique, equipment… all that is extremely important of course, but by itself is not sufficient to make a club great. What I have appreciated the most is the human quality, from the adults who work for and around the club, to the kids, to the parents. PCRA has, since day one, felt like a wholesome and nurturing environment, truly helping the children grow into the amazing individuals that they are all supposed to be in their unique, special way.
It doesn’t mean it’s easy for the kids. The expectations are high, as are the physical and logistical demands. But I think the special sauce lies in the balance that the club manages to maintain between those high expectations and a palpable feeling of team work and camaraderie. You can see it every day at pick up: the kids are happy together. If they can learn to work through challenges while staying positive and good to others, that’s a pretty good recipe for a rich and fulfilling life. Even more so than winning, that’s what being an athlete is all about.
I was a bit hesitant about joining the Masters team last Spring. Sure, the idea of showing up for practice at 5:30 AM was terrifying, but that could be managed. No, the big question for me was: would having a parent at the club interfere with that great dynamic (after all, parents are supposed to be embarrassing, right? ;-)). Actually, the opposite happened. Being able to share in the kids’ struggles and victories, to relate to what they’re going through, and to marvel at what they accomplish every day because I also experience first-hand how hard it is, has brought us even closer together. That’s very precious, and I am extremely thankful for that.
Thank you PCRA!