Did you walk on to the lightweight rowing team?
What impact did rowing have on your Dartmouth experience?
I desperately wanted to be part of a team at Dartmouth. I tried to walk onto the cross-country team and the Nordic ski team during my freshman year but both ultimately turned me away. I was lonely, craving community, and had no connections with upperclassmen during my freshman year. I tried club sports and the DOC but found that they lacked the culture of determination, self-sacrifice, competitive drive, and camaraderie that I longed for. I decided to walk onto the lightweight team during my sophomore year. I immediately found a group of dedicated, hardworking, positive, and welcoming friends. Emerson Curry ‘08, our coach, ultimately made a more significant positive impact on me than any faculty member over the course of my four years at the college.
That first year our freshman boat had 4 walk-ons and we ended up beating fully-recruited boats from Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia over the course of the spring season. In my second year, I made the Varsity boat and represented Dartmouth in the Grand Finale of the IRA National Championship. I sat directly across from Andrew Campbell (Harvard ‘14 who placed 5th at the 2016 Olympics with pair partner Josh Konieczny, Dartmouth Class of 2013). My senior year I had the honor of being co-captain and stroking the Varsity boat. In summary, the athletic experience that lightweight rowing gave me was beyond anything I could have ever imagined when I first arrived on campus.
I met my best friends, roommates, and partner at the boathouse. I developed an appreciation for the river that can only come from experiencing its beauty and brutality each and every day.
What impact did rowing have beyond college?
My experience with lightweight rowing inspired me to leave a lucrative career in finance to become an educator and coach. I felt a calling to share with young people the values of community, personal growth, self-sacrifice, and drive for excellence that I learned at the boathouse. Of the young rowers that I coached last spring, half of them were non-white. I am incredibly proud of the work that I do and owe so much to the men and women at the boathouse who made my experience possible.
What would be lost if Dartmouth eliminates the Lightweight Rowing Team?
The last place on campus where any student, regardless of their talent, experience, or the opportunities that were or were not available to them previously, can participate in competitive college athletics.