TEAM by Willow Adler, Kathryn Alexander, Molly Bidwell and Maya Spunberg
Rowing is a sport unlike any other. In order to be the most efficient and smooth, a crew has to have complete trust in each other. Trust that each boat member will push as hard as they can, trust that everyone in the shell wants to win as much as the next rower. Trust is the foundation of any good crew. However, the level of trust where one can place their goals in the hands of another is not often found. I was lucky enough to find this with three other girls this past year. Although we eventually reached a point where we could have a conversation without arguing, it took more than just a few practices. The beginnings were rough, and several of the boat members (namely me) believed that it was never going to go anywhere, that we didn’t have the right connection to pull off a race. Thankfully, time, patience, and an encouraging coach eventually led to that moment where it all clicked. Suddenly, the desire to win took over, as it does in most rowers. But it was more than just winning. It was about doing it for each other, and straining to get that one good stroke; the one that puts a smile on your face for the rest of the day. We were connected by and committed to the shell we were sitting in. We were all in the same boat, literally and figuratively. PCRA was the bridge that let me experience a team in a way I never knew existed. Rowing with Kathryn, Willow, and Molly taught me so much about both the sport and myself. I think this team was the best environment that I could’ve started the sport in. The coaches and teammates helped shape me into the athlete and person I am today. Even though the jumpees, push ups, bridge runs, and surprise 2k’s can be rough, the countless laughs, jokes, and baked goods make up for it.
By Maya Spunberg
Rowing was my first team sport. On dev team, I was enchanted by the waters of the lagoon. Just months later, Glen Island underwent a transformation. When I joined the intermediate race team, I saw Glen Island under a different light. Long gone were the days of admiring the lagoon, the lagoon had become my home. 3 girls rowed with me; Molly, Willow, and Maya endured my horrible backsplash, and terrible technique. I had never met Molly or Willow, and despite going to the same school for 7 years, Maya and I hadn’t talked since 5th grade. It continued this way for a few more awkward practices, filled with a few spats and a backsplashed-soaked bow pair. Just a few months later and many many practices, and races, these girls would know more about me than anyone else. Pushed by our coaches, we grew stronger together, mentally and physically. I found a nuanced version of team, one that I never knew could exist. The real definition of a team isn’t just the people you practice, it’s the people who believe in you more than you believe in yourself. My teammates, Maya, Willow & Molly, and many others have driven me to wake up in the early hours of the mourning, push through the last 25o meters, and most importantly to become a better happier person. We learned the recipe for boat glide, the difference between bad ratio, good ratio, and no ratio, what it feels like when the boat is swinging and just how bad a crab can be (I caught the vast majority). I learned just how much teammates can mean to you, and how much pain you will put yourself through, just so they don’t have to do it alone. PCRA has been the vessel for me to become an athlete and make bonds with coaches and teammates that I didn’t know could exist.
By Kathryn Alexander
On my first day at PCRA I did not know the difference between starboard and port, thankfully everyone was welcoming and patient. With the support of my teammates, I was able to get the hang of things quickly. From the help of PCRA’s coaches, I have improved and continue to improve my technique and strength in a boat. Being in a boat, I realized the importance of teamwork and trust. Rowing is a sport about getting a group of people to be able to move like one. I was able to experience that movement with three other girls; Maya, Molly, and Kathryn. In the beginning, our boat was not good, but because we always showed up to practice we began to get comfortable with one another which translated well in the boat. Instead of us looking like we were in different boats we started actually rowing together. By enduring tough workouts, sore muscles, and blisters, we saw our hard work pay off as we were getting stronger. PCRA’s coaches set high standards while providing a comforting environment which allowed us to get better each day. Without PCRA I would not have been able to be a part of a new family where I got to build incredible friendships that made me happy to endure excruciating pain.
By Willow Adler
I still remember that first day we rowed together. It was the beginning of the spring season, bare trees scattered the island, the lagoon cold to the touch. I had just joined PCRA’s intermediate team, and I couldn’t imagine my life could better from there. As I entered the boathouse, my eyes fell upon the gigantic whiteboard, riddled with writing, boat lineups, and oar assignments. Scanning it, I came across the word, Bidwell, just below Adler, and above, Alexander and Spunberg. I was bow. Understandably I was mortified, I didn’t want to let my coach down, nonetheless my teammates. But as we pushed off the dock that very afternoon, all feeling of doubt was lost. For the next 5-6 months, it was the four of us against the world, in the quad just hitting our stride. Sure we hit our fair share of obstacles along the way, I’ll never forget those few times we butted heads, failing to even have a simple discussion without an argument breaking loose, but we treated it as a learning experience, an excuse to work harder than we had ever before, to exceed, push past our limits. Of course, we couldn’t do it alone, our coaches worked tirelessly beside us, providing not only advice on technique, but life, pushing us to become the best version of ourselves both mentally and physically. And though I’ll admit, at times I don’t necessarily enjoy the daily 10-minute runs or what seem to be endless sets of jumpies, I know they're doing it in our favor. They see potential in each athlete’s future, and are more than willing to take whatever risk necessary to get there. I know I’m not only doing it for myself but for my teammates as well, each and everyone, for PCRA is more than just a team, it’s a family. A place where no one is turned down, but everyone is accepted, where we pick one another up in times of self-doubt and help cox that one person through their last 500m of their 2k. And if it weren’t for this team I would have never met these three girls, nor would I have ever gained a new home.
By Molly Bidwell