November 8, 2011

Letter to the Editor: The controversy that started with a water bottle

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To the Editor:

Re: “Three Reasons the Rowing Team Needs Gatorade Bottles,” Sports, Nov. 2

Words can do more to hurt your cause than they ever can to help it. Understanding that, I write these words to, at the very least, provide my own perspective with regards to a recently published article about why the Cornell Rowing Team deserves water bottles. As a member of the Cornell Rowing Team, I also believe that my views are shared almost unanimously by my teammates.

The Nov. 2 article cited the Rowing Team’s morning practices, the accurate portrayal of rowing in The Social Network and the past success of Cornell’s team as reasons for why we deserve water bottles.

With regards to morning practice, I do not pretend that this aspect of training is unique to us. Nor do I pretend that the weather we face is any different than any other team that competes outdoors. For any Division I team to be competitive it has to undergo these practices, and all Cornell teams must do so in Ithaca’s tough conditions. To all other Cornell student-athletes who have to wake up early and brace the cold over the course of this year: Keep on pushing and making gains.

As for the The Social Network, I had a very different reaction to the rowing in that movie. I have never met the Winklevoss twins, but the portrayal of their characters left me with a bitter taste in my mouth; they came across as entitled and truly unpleasant individuals. Rowing is a sport with an affluent heritage, there is no denying that. However, the vast majority of rowers today are down to earth, hard-working people who do not aspire to behave in any way, shape or form like the Winklevoss twins of The Social Network.

With regards to the comments made about winning, I would like to address the football team: I realize that the last couple of years have been challenging, but your collective effort as a team to move in a positive direction has thoroughly impressed me. I am confident that very soon Cornell Football will return to a position of dominance in our league. I would like to stress that all of my teammates and I genuinely wish you the best of luck this coming weekend against Columbia and across all future seasons.

Cornell’s rowing team has been successful in recent history because of the incredible hard work and talent of my teammates and predecessors. For that, they will forever have my respect. I recognize, however, that this level of commitment is common across all teams on campus and for that reason I am proud to be a Cornellian.

Finally, I believe Cornell Rowing is more than adequately funded in terms of our gear and facilities. The support of our alumni and our University helps us continue to be competitive and achieve a high level of success. I find it hard to believe that this all began over a water bottle. I hope that these comments have clarified my personal views and I wish all Cornell sports teams success over the course of this year.

Madison Riley  ’12