7 Reasons Why You Should Try Rowing

7 Reasons Why You Should Try Rowing

Seven reasons why anyone who needs or wants to do a sport should check out crew.

Rowing, I find, is a very underappreciated sport that most people don't know much about. So let's start out by defining what rowing is. Before I began rowing myself, the image that popped into my head when I heard "rowing" or "Crew", was, at best, a bunch of huge guys in a boat rowing a their butts off while someone sat in the front yelling "stroke!" every second or so. At worst, the image that popped up was just some salty old fisherman in a rowboat. I assume that most people, especially those of us in towns without school-organized rowing teams, think of rowing and think of these images. So let's set the record straight:

Rowing, or crew as it's sometimes known, involves a number of people, from one to eight, performing the rowing motion in sync. There are two types of rowing: sculling, where each person has two oars, involving boats that seat one, two, and four people; and sweeping, where each person has one oar, involving boats that seat two, four, and eight people. Sometimes a boat may have a cox (you're allowed to giggle), who, instead of rowing, steers the boat and directs those who are rowing. In boats without a cox, bow seat (the seat furthest to the front) does the cox's job. It is much more common for sweeping boats to have a cox than it is for sculling boats, and eights always have coxes.

As for the motion of rowing, here's a GIF to demonstrate:

Not how you pictured it right? I was certainly surprised when I found out what it actually looked like. Ideally, this is what rowing is, but this guy is a beast who makes it look easy, so novices shouldn't expect to look like this immediately.

So now you know a little bit about the sport of crew. But why should you look into rowing? Well to start out:

1. You get fit AF

Check out the thighs and arms on these guys. Granted, they just won the gold medal at the London Olympics, but even for a novice, rowing is an excellent workout for most major muscles and muscle groups, as well as being some of the best cardio you can get. Add in that a typical competitive team practices for at least two hours four times a week, and you have a recipe for burning some serious calories and building some serious muscle.

2. It builds character

Rowing has changed my outlook on life in more ways than I can count, and I know many rowers who say the same thing. I am a harder worker, a better teammate, and a more stable person than I was two years ago, before I started rowing. At the risk of sounding cheesy, crew has made me who I am today.

3. Height/weight/body type will not decide if you are good or not

OK, so this might be a little untrue. It is generally true that tall, slim people dominate the upper echelons of rowing (just watch the Olympics or the world championships). However, it is effort, not shape or size, that decides how good of a rower you are in the end. I have won races against boats with people twice the size of my teammates, and I have lost to people smaller than I am (I'm about 5'9). I'm not saying you can be 5'2 and win every race if you practice more: I'm saying that it is possible to be 5'2 and win, and that you can be 5'2 and still have a great time. Also, for you really tiny, really light people, you can become a cox, and believe me, coxes are at least as respected as anyone who pulls on an oar.

4. You can chose how you row

Not much of a teammate? Row a single! Love the dynamic and intimacy of tennis pairs or synchronized diving? Row a double or a pair! Like being part of something big, and getting to know four to nine people? Row a quad, a four, or an eight! There is a boat for every kind of person, unless of course, you're the kind of person who doesn't like rowing.

5. You get to attend regattas

OK, I should probably explain this picture before I say anything else. If you win with a cox, its customary for rowers to throw the cox off the dock after you get off the water. Just one of the many fun things that can happen at regattas, the rowing equivalent of a track meet. There are vendors selling various cool rowing related items, teams from the surrounding towns and states, and usually plenty of good food. However, you are there to race. While it can be nerve-wracking waiting to race and disappointing if you lose, the fun usually outweighs the negative aspect. Plus, there's always a chance that you come home with a shiny new medal...

6. Colleges LOVE rowers

Its possible to get into some very good schools off of a rowing scholarship, as the above picture demonstrates. Because rowing is a sport most people start in college, rowers who are already experienced when they get to college are very valuable. If you're ambitious and talented, you can get recruited into legendary programs with ancient rivalries and storied coaches. Even if you don't end up getting recruited, or if you don't plan on rowing in college, rowing looks great on your transcript.

7. You make friends. REALLY good friends

When you join a club team or a rowing team, you get to know your teammates and coaches very well. After all, you might be spending 12 hours a week with these people. But by the end of the season, when all is said and done, your teammates, those you are in the boat with especially, are some of you closest friends. This fall season, I'm rowing in a quad, and although we've only competed in one race so far, we're already super close. In rowing, you can join for any number of reasons, but you stay for your team.

I row at Nereid Boat Club on the Passaic River in Rutherford.

Cover Image Credit: Clinton Rowing Club

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20 Signs You Were A High School Cheerleader

You got really tired of hearing, "Point your toes."

Cheerleading is something you'll never forget. It takes hard work, dedication, and comes with its ups and downs. Here are some statements that every cheerleader, past and present, know to be true.

1. You always had bobby pins with you.

2. Fear shot through you if you couldn't find your spankees right away and thought you left them at home.

3. You accumulated about 90 new pairs of tennis shoes...

4. ...and about 90 new bows, bags, socks, and warm ups.

5. When you hear certain songs from old cheer dance mixes it either ruins your day or brings back happy memories.

6. And chances are, you still remember every move to those dances.

7. Sometimes you catch yourself standing with your hands on your hips.

8. You know the phrase, "One more time, ladies" all too well.

9. The hospitality rooms were always one of the biggest perks of going to tournaments (at least for me).

10. You got really tired of hearing, "Point your toes."

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11. If you left the gym at half-time to go get something, you better be back by the time the boys run back out.

12. You knew how awkward it could be on the bus rides home after the boys lost.

13. But you also knew how fun it could be if they won.

14. Figuring out line-up was extremely important – especially if one of your members was gone.

15. New uniforms were so exciting; minus the fact that they cost a fortune.

16. You know there was nothing worse than when you called out an offense cheer but halfway through, you had to switch to the defense version because someone turned over the ball.

17. You still know the school fight song by heart and every move that goes with it.

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18. UCA Cheer Camp cheers and chants still haunt you to this day.

19. You know the difference between a clasp and a clap. Yes, they're different.

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Cover Image Credit: Doug Pool / Facebook

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Being A Packers Fan Is Harder Than People Think

It's not all cheese curds and snowy Instagrams.


Many people think that being a Packers fan is the best and easiest thing in the world. Since we go to the playoffs almost every year, we are supposed to be considered "grateful." Let me just say this, being a Packers fan is the hardest. We may go to the playoffs a lot, but we never make it to the Super Bowl, and we always fall short every season. We have two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, with only two championships to show. Every season seems to be a constant disappointment, There is no other team that can be compared to the Packers. You could make a case for the Washington Capitals, but they just won the Stanley Cup.

Believe me, it's hard being a Packers fan.

To start, we need to talk about what the problem is. The problem is our team can never finish. Aaron Rodgers has carried the team for over a decade. We have only reached the Super Bowl once in that time. Every year in the playoffs, the defense seems to stink the big one and lose us the game. The 2009 playoffs against the Cardinals saw both teams score 45+ with us losing. In the 2011 playoffs, the Packers lost to the Giants 37-20 and we went 15-1 that season. In 2012 and 2013, we lost to the 49ers in the playoffs because Colin Kaepernick shredded our defense. I don't even want to bring up the 2015 playoffs against the Seahawks where we should have won but lost because of a dumb player on our team. And it just seems like we can never win in the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers can't do it himself.

I have had my heart broken the past eight seasons and it doesn't get easier.

Then we can talk about the absolute fucking roller coaster the regular season brings us. Aaron Rodgers seems to get injured a lot, and that scares the shit out of every fan. When he is healthy, we have seen games come down to the last play. Either there was a hail mary, a field goal, or some magic shit that we could never have imagined. I'll never forget the miracle in Mowtown, or the last second field goal against the Cowboys in the playoffs two years ago. Let's not forget Randall Cobb's heroics against the Bears in 2013 and last week.

My heart has been through so many roller coaster games, it's hard to not feel anxious every minute.

Then we can talk about how the Packers are run. The mentality of the team is to grow your players. While this may sound good, we rarely sign free agents. Take for example Khalil Mack. The Packers could have easily signed Mack this off-season. We have two first-round draft picks, and a bunch of cap space. We needed to sign him. But because our fucking team refuses to make moves, we lost him to the Bears. This dude is a beast and we just lost him. When we grow players, we take the chance that they may not be good. We drafted two corners a few years ago and gave them multiple opportunities to be great. They absolutely sucked and we lost. We traded them and here we are again with the same problem. We need to sign players, and we just don't. This kills us as fans because it just seems like the organization is lazy. We need good players, so go sign good players.

The Green Bay Packers are a great franchise and I love being their fan. But people need to realize it isn't the best thing in the world because we go through serious troubles. It must suck seeing your team be horrible, but would you rather see your team underachieve every season?

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