If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll recall that I mentioned America’s massive affinity for school spirit at football games and how I’d never seen anything quite like it. Looking back, I realise that that is not exactly true. It is on the scale of things (never in my life have I been somewhere that over 90,000 people were all cheering for one team), but I have felt that same dedication and love for a single team: at rowing.
I joined ULBC in my freshers year of university, having never rowed before. Despite this though, I actively sought them out at freshers fair because I’d been involved with a lot of boat-based sports before, and I wanted to try my hand at it. I’m so glad that I did. Now I’m in my third year, and heading to Chattanooga, Tennessee in a fortnight for Head of the Hooch. This is one of the biggest races in the American University rowing calendar, with 2187 boats on the water racing through only 87 races last year (look out for a blog post on this in the near future), and I wouldn’t be here without ULBC. The training for this with my new crew team has been intense, with almost as many hours on the water/erg (aka rowing machine) as I have in lectures per week. This may sound daunting to some, but as others will know when you’re in it, getting up at 5:30 AM and spending any free hour you have doing work, you realise just how long a day actually is. You see how much you can fit in, while still maintaining enough sleep, and a social life. Last year I read an article in the Guardian that pretty much summed up my thoughts on this subject called “University rowing: the best thing you’ll ever do” (I even printed it to put on my wall).
As Chorley says, it makes you a more organised person. When you know you have to be at training at a certain time, you ensure that everything else you have to do gets done as soon as possible, and limits the procrastination. It teaches you that you always have more to give, because no matter how much effort you put into one session, however tired you are, there will always be more to do, and there are no excuses for not doing it. Which brings me to my title. Rowing is the ultimate team sport. There is very little in the way of individual glory, as every single person in that boat has to work together to cross the line first. You push hard, because the others in your crew are doing so too and you don’t want to be the one who lets them down. It’s also the place you’ll make lifelong friends.
“Dedication has a home, and it is ULBC.” – Leicester Tab
You may have seen them on campus last week, doing a 26 hour ergathon for VSO, on the Soar in one of their many training sessions, or even going to LetsDisko on a social. If you’ve somehow managed to miss all of this, here’s their 2015/16 season promotion video:
They have many events throughout the year where you can come and support them, especially for their Varsity against De Montfort University in March, and I’d encourage you to do so. I will be blogging about it, and let you know the details closer to the time – so keep your eyes peeled! And if you ever want to get involved with them, there is more information on their website.
Until next time, readers!