I was an '84 walk-on. I tried out for soccer, which I played in high school, but my style was incompatible with what was being coached at the time.
I knew that I wanted to be a lightweight, but Freshman year, I actually rowed with the heavies because that last 5 lbs was too much for me to shed at the time. We did reasonably well as an 8, particularly in the fall head races, but we had an amazing straight 4 that won Canadian Henley & took second at the IRAs & went to British Henley where we won Marlow and Reading, but fell to the Jr. National Team at the main event.
Academically, I always did better in the spring because of the enhanced focus of the racing season & managed to achieve cum laude, despite the additional demands of working at my family's restaurant, Lou's. It is beyond doubt that the discipline I learned in the boat helped me stay focused and complete my year-long Senior Fellowship.
Fast forward 35(!) years and almost daily, in my business, advocacy, teaching and other activities, I refer to the lessons of rowing: the importance of focus, determination, teamwork, discipline, sacrifice. How, unlike in most other sports, no one person can cause a boat win, but one person missing a stroke can 'stop' the boat.
I can say without hesitation or reservation that what I learned about myself and 'life in general' through my rowing experience is at least an equal contributor to my professional achievement when compared with what I learned academically.
Knowing the qualities of the Band of Brothers I rowed with, I would hire a lightweight in a heartbeat!