Did you walk on to the lightweight rowing team?
What impact did rowing have on your Dartmouth experience?
I came to Dartmouth as a freshman in 2006; I knew no one else who was attending prior to showing up in Hanover for the first time. I ran cross country in high school and did reasonably well, but was not fast enough to run for the Dartmouth team.
From the beginning, Dartmouth rowing made itself one of the most approachable and inviting organizations on campus. While many clubs – mock trial, ski team, a capella groups – required try-outs and interviews, the rowing team took all comers. What came out of that was a hard-working, determined group of very unique individuals, some of whom are arguably my very best friends to this day. I think that Dartmouth Lightweight Rowing stands alone in its accessibility to a variety of people with absolutely no experience in the sport. It was a platform – from that platform, the athletes were given the tools and opportunities necessary to develop into competent rowers.
What Dartmouth does well is to prepare its students for resilience and dynamism such that they should be able to tackle most problems that come their way. Joining the lightweight rowing team, which competed on a national scale, as a novice required self-determination, resilience, and thick skin. It was not easy. At the same time, it was unique in that results never came from any one individual’s performance – racing is a group effort. Every man and woman on the team was essential to the success of the program.
The struggles of the training cycle fostered deep connections among the various walk-ons, many of whom came from a variety of diverse backgrounds
What impact did rowing have beyond college?
As a walk-on who chose Dartmouth for the rigors of its program and its unique access to the outdoors, I always considered myself a student first and athlete second. I did have to work a little harder to perform in a classroom setting, but I strongly believe that Dartmouth rowing developed in me a toughness and grit that likely would not have been there otherwise.
What would be lost if Dartmouth eliminates the Lightweight Rowing Team?
I am firm in my conviction that participation in varsity-level athletics strongly enhances the College experience. I was a better student because I was an athlete, and I was a better athlete because I was a student.
Many Dartmouth students who are not recruited might not have the chance to participate in varsity-level athletics but for the existence of Dartmouth rowing.