Westech Roofing and Bay View Materials are partnering to sponsor the East Bay Rowing Club master’s men and Oakland Tech juniors in the purchase of a new (to us, that is) 8+ racing shell to share. This gift totals $10,000!
One donor offers this donation challenge: If we can raise $2,500 over the next 30 days, the donor will contribute an additional $2,500 to match. Continue reading…
East Bay Rowing Club kicked off its 2014 fall racing season with a strong showing at the Wine Country Rowing Classic in Petaluma, California, on Sunday, October 5. EBRC fielded a variety of masters men’s, women’s, and mixed boats and rowed to victory in the men’s 8+, women’s novice 8+, and men’s pair. Continue reading…
The fall regatta schedule is set and the coaches are working on lineups. Come cheer us on! Continue reading…
To kick off the new school year, EBRC hosted a Learn To Row event for the Oakland Technical High School Rowing club on Saturday, September 6. We were delighted to welcome Dana King, Oakland city council candidate, former journalist, and World Class gold medal rower as our keynote speaker.
As a reporter, King won five Emmy awards, but she earned a lot more hardware on the water. King won a gold medal in the 2006 FISA Master’s World Championship along with Peggy Johnston, Dede Birch, and Eileen Hansen — just one of the many medals in a case that King brought to show students.
A latecomer to rowing in her 30s, King broke rowing down for the O.T. Crew and their potential recruits. “It isn’t how strong you are, it isn’t how tall you are, it isn’t how much you weigh,” she said.
“It’s — how big is your heart? That’s what rowing is.”
King pulled no punches when she talked about the pain of rowing. She bears the scars of a dozen years in the boat — stitches from this race, a snapped tendon from that race…but the pain was fleeting.
“It’s a sport of a lifetime, it truly is,” King said. “It’s the most remarkable gift I’ve given myself.”
Rowing becomes part of who you are, she told the Oakland Tech students. It’s how you define yourself, not on someone else’s terms, but on your own. You can tell yourself, “I row hard, I row fast, and people can count on me in a boat.”
And that flows over into life, she said. “This is one of those sports…it is for everybody, but it’s not for everybody.”
“This will be a test of who you are,” she challenged.
Watch the video of Dana King’s full speech:
The O.T. Crew, inaugurated in 2012, is sponsored by EBRC. Program director Gulliver Scott, who coaches the EBRC intermediate squads, described his vision for the O.T. Crew and youth rowing throughout Oakland and beyond.
“It’s a great sport that has a lot to offer,” Scott said. “The community that forms, the bonds that form, really last a lifetime and, I think, are really important.” Twenty years from now, he told the students, he’d love to see them standing where he is now, talking to a new youth crew ready to get out on the water.
The O.T. Crew welcomed back nine returning team members this fall and gained more than 20 novices for the coming season. Go, Bulldongs!
If you’ve just joined the team (I just joined in June) or if you think you might want to join the team (trust me, you do!), you might be able to guess from the title what part of this deal scared me the most:
With very few exceptions, everyone on this team takes a turn in the ninth seat, and that includes us newbies/novies. Once you’re solid enough on the basics, it’s time.
You put on the headset, and you sit facing the teammates you’ve had your back to for months (and whose backs you’ve stared at). You switch port and starboard in your head, because your whole perspective just changed. Again. You squeeze into a “seat” built for a jockey, and off you go.
Well, off you go…when you say it’s time to go. The biggest shift is realizing that you’re the one calling the shots. You’ve just settled into the routine of, for the most part, just following instructions and doing your best, and now it’s your turn to drive.
(Were you one of those kids who couldn’t wait to get your driver’s license? I wasn’t.)
The good news is that the only surprise is when you’ll cox a boat, not if. And if you know you’re going to have to do it eventually, you have three practices a week to learn from those who go before you. Our squad benefited from the goodwill of volunteer coxes from the intermediate and advanced teams, and we’ve all had tremendous support from our own team-within-a-team; ain’t no shame in a boat full of novices. We’re all learning, and next practice, it could be be you up there.
That morning, it was me up there. Knowing that the day was going to come, here’s what I tried to do to prepare:
- I listened to how the coaches describe the drills and land commands. I tried to get familiar with how they were being called so I wouldn’t stumble too much and confuse everyone with weird commands.
- When I’ve been impressed or frustrated by a cox, I’ve tried to step back and figure out why. If they did something I thought was great, I tried to remember to steal it. I also tried to remember to avoid the stuff that didn’t feel helpful.
- I worked to build up some good karma by supporting my fellow novices as they took the rudder before me. For real — this is a team sport, no matter where you’re sitting.
I know what you’re thinking. You didn’t sign up to be a coxswain. You signed up to row. Think of it this way: Trust is at the foundation of EBRC. The club trusts you to handle tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Your teammates trust you to guide them safely through the water. All you have to do is trust yourself. (And don’t run into anything.)
Fellow novies and those who’ve been around the estuary a few times, what was your first coxing experience like?