The Struggles of a Crew Kid

Holland Cogan, Staff Writer

The Oakton Crew team is infamous for their intense winter conditioning in preparation for water season. Students practice on erg machines for weeks before rowing, and the practice is a necessity to get their minds and bodies ready for the harsh conditions that come with the Occoquan environment. However, The Oakton Crew team is considered a club at Oakton, not a sport.  A student walking down an Oakton hallway may be distracted as they see a classmate stuffing their locker with bags of equipment, clothes, and friend’s belongings. Members of the Oakton crew team know this process all too well, as each year they haul extra pairs of clothes, sneakers, crocs, and food with them to school and to the water. The Occoquan river welcomes the team every season with gusts of cold wind and choppy waters as members bundle up in layers of sweatshirts and sweatpants. The air on the Occoquan is 10 degrees cooler than on land and the students must prepare for the worst case scenario…falling in. However, each day they still hoist the boats up onto their shoulders and walk to the docks. The students hold 30,00 dollars in the air with the sole goal to not let the boat drop as they carefully make their way to the docks from the Sandy Run boat house. The Docks are crowded and members are rushed as coxswains shout “weigh enough” to stop the members from walking and “roll it in” as they place the boat gently in the water. This is the daily routine of getting on the water and the struggles are real for every member. Students arrive home from practice around 8:00 and then must complete their homework and prepare for school the next day. Joe Barber (11) says” Winter conditioning is definitely hard. We have to do lots of more direct workouts without the fun of being on the water…the satisfaction of being in a boat with eight of your friends and feeling the wind and the rush of the water beneath you on the river makes up for the months stuck in the hallway.”He also made the point that “It is as much of a sport as track is. It’s teams racing, only on water rather than on a track.”