While many have accused crew of being a cult sport, that may be even more true in the case of the men’s heavyweight crew. Besides being teammates, many of the rowers choose to live at the unofficial crew house, which currently shelters about half of the team resides.
“Crew is a demanding sport that requires incredible dedication, and everyone in the house respects this. The bottom line is that by living together, we understand and respect each other more. This translates to practice when we’re working together,” said junior Tyler Davis.
Located at 119 the Knoll, it is one of the nicest places to live on campus, with a large house, a big backyard, and sweeping views of Ithaca and Cayuga Lake. Other amenities include a fireplace, plenty of privacy, and a must for most college students, free parking.
“I think that one of the most important things to clarify is that we’re all friends, first and foremost, and that’s why we live together,” Davis said. “It’s natural to become close to the guys with whom you sweat and bleed day after day.”
The closeness that these rowers have developed has not only made the teamates friends, but has also created a desire amongst them to work for the team.
“The pain that comes with rowing would be much harder to endure without the knowledge that the guys around you are going through the same thing,” said junior captain Brian Allsopp. “On race day the will to win is almost equaled if not surpassed in some instances by the fear of failing your boatmates. A less than perfect effort would on your part be unfair to your friends who have been pulling for you.”
Yet, one would think that a group of people who spend so much time together would have trouble separating the part of their life dedicated to crew and the part of their life when they are at home. However, this does not seem to be the case for the heavyweight crew.
“There is rarely a problem with being able to leave what happens on the water at the boathouse. If someone wants to talk about rowing or the day’s practice there is sure to be at least one or two other guys in the house who will join in, but at the same time we don’t let the emotions that come with rowing dictate our attitudes off the water,” Allsopp said.
In short, these athletes have discovered how to work hard, play hard, and row hard all with the same group of people. They have the same schedule, they share the same interest, crew, and they all balance an incredibly demanding varsity sport with the rigorous academics of Cornell.
Archived article by Catherine Bourque Sun Staff Writer