Letter to the Editor: More Rowing, Please

Dear Spectator Staff,

I’ve always enjoyed reading your pieces and I thank you for the voice you give to the many different groups, issues and causes that are important to the Seattle University community. That being said, I’ve noticed that the coverage of sport clubs, and the participants therein, seems significantly less than that of their varsity counterparts, last week’s piece included. While it is obviously important to report the activities of the varsity student-athletes on campus, I’m sure there is an untapped richness in the sport club arena—it is an area that is just as important as varsity athletics in terms of student development, leadership opportunities and overall campus health.

A major example would be men’s rowing, a competitive sport club that competes against club and varsity programs across the country alongside the new varsity sport of women’s rowing. Maybe I missed it, but I was surprised I did not see mention last spring of the men’s repeat win against varsity and club teams at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship near Sacramento, their 4th place finish of 35 varsity and club crews in their event at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia (the largest intercollegiate rowing regatta in the United States), or their triumphant win against the fastest collegiate club crews in the country at the American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championship on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia, the location of the 1996 Summer Olympics. While the semantics of “student-athlete” are best left for another discussion, the members of men’s crew, and some other sport clubs, are student-athletes in the truest sense of the word.

But performance is not the only reason why there should be coverage of the competitive club side of crew, or of other sport clubs for that matter. The men and women that are the other half of Seattle U’s rowing picture manage a successful collegiate rowing program on their own. Not only do the student-athletes of men’s crew put the same amount of time into training as their varsity counterparts (for the entire school year), but the officers manage all aspects of the program, including recruitment efforts, fundraising initiatives, competitions, travel, and coaching staff acquisitions. Through dues, fundraising and outside donations, they raise tens of thousands of dollars. It is an immense responsibility and offers incredible professional development; translated, the competitive sport club of men’s rowing provides real-world experience that is invaluable in today’s job market where creativity, hands-on leadership experience and a sense of budgetary restraint are all but required in the current economy.

The men and women of rowing have a great year planned, with many shared events and some that go beyond. I encourage you to equally report on the men’s team as you do the women’s and follow with similar energy the accomplishments and highlights of other sport clubs on campus.

Maybe some of the onus is on University Recreation and its sport clubs to create, or more effectively utilize, a centralized news-feed that resembles athletics’, but recognizing the vast difference in professional staffing levels and team budgets between the two, I would hope The Spectator can take the initiative and be proactive in
its efforts.

And to any Seattle U student who wants to be a part of the legacy: give it a shot. You don’t know until you row.

Samuel Nelsen Class of 2010

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