Lakeside Crew in All Its Glory

By now the fall sports season has long been gone and Tatler has covered them all along the way. We have written features and published interviews with the captains of the football, girls soccer, volleyball, cross country, girls swim and dive, and golf teams. Tatler covered all of the bases right? Super wrong. There is one time consuming, competitive, and invisible fall sport that has been in the shadows during fall seasons. The crew team has been practicing and competing and yet very few members of the student body recognize them as a fall sport. The teams’ accomplishments and events are seldom recorded or highlighted in the Bull. When one of their athletes, Bonnie Y. ’21 was awarded the committed athlete award during the crew season in the fall, a picture of her wrestling, her winter sport, was displayed in the weight room. I am the Sports Section Editor for Tatler and even I did not have the awareness to reach out to their captains or coaching staff for interviews. 

Being on such a physically demanding and time consuming sport team and still getting no recognition from the student body or athletics office is frustrating for many of the athletes. Arushi M. ’20 has been a coxswain for four years and is the person who informed Tatler that the sport could be receiving more acknowledgement on campus. She speculates that it is “because [they] train all year round and most sports only have one season. Since spring is when crew gets more serious, [the athletics office] just decided to only count spring as crew’s official season.” She also adds that this explanation is “not a valid reason” for crew to not get the announcements and pride that comes with the other fall sports because they practice 13 hours a week and compete in the fall. One of Arushi’s greatest peeves about the invisibility of the crew team is that “crew is not acknowledged as a fall sport in the fall sports assembly.” A lack of recognition from the student body is one issue, but the athletics office in this instance is either consciously excluding the sport and the hard work of the athletes all season or simply forgetting it in the same way many of us students have. 

Another four-year rowe, team captain Sophia C. ’20, attributes the lack of recognition to the geographical separation between school and practice. She “believes that crew isn’t as recognized as a lot of sports is because other students have absolutely no clue where [they] go or what [they] do during practice! The boathouse, located in Kenmore and on the Sammamish River, is a 15-20 minute drive from campus, so that’s why rowers and coxswains are hustling after their last class since practice officially starts at 3:30.” Adding insult to injury, crew is not a very spectator friendly sport as viewers can usually only see a small portion of the race and have difficulty distinguishing teams from each other. Furthermore, the teams the crew teams compete against are not always other high schools but club teams that many students are not aware of, making it difficult to get hyped up for rivalries. 

Sophia goes on further to describe how even in the spring (crew’s designated season), the team is still not as recognized as others: “One point of contention, at least for me, is that even when we are “in season,” we receive very little recognition. If I remember correctly, not once last year did the Lakeside Athletics Twitter tweet something about the crew team, even when Lakeside Crew qualified nine people to Nationals in Florida. This was at the same time when the Athletics Twitter was firing off new graphics weekly for every sport.”

Senior Patrick J. 20 has taken a practical approach to figuring out why crew is not considered or recognized as a fall sport: “The dictionary definition of ‘sport’ is ‘an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment...” Fall crew seems like it should meet the criteria, given that we compete in multiple major regattas in the fall. Some of my guesses as to why spring crew but not fall crew is recognized: 1. Our most important regatta, NW Regional Championships, is in the spring, so Lakeside athletics might not consider the fall season to be as important. 2. The only regatta that allows regional [to] state advancement, NW Regionals, is in the spring, so Lakeside athletics might not consider the fall season to be as important. 3. Lakeside athletics decided to only assign one season to each sport, so they chose the most major season.” While he understands that crew is designated as a spring sport, he still thinks that the effort and contributions of his teammates should be acknowledged alongside the other designated fall sports: “As far as I know, the teams are just a little disappointed when crew doesn’t get mentioned in the annual fall sports recap assembly.”

Because crew is such a time and effort consuming sports, athletes and coaches have begun brainstorming ways how the team can get more student and faculty recognition. Sophia has said that she knows “for a fact that there has been communication between the crew coaches and Athletics to resolve this issue and generate more recognition for the crew team! It’s a work in progress!” She adds that when she heard the news, it “made my day.” A proposed plan was a boathouse open house where “the Lakeside community can come and learn more and see what [the crew team is] all about! We have fabulous facilities and coaches and want other students to recognize that we can be a support system for them too!” 

As the Sports Section Editor for the school newspaper, I must implicate myself as someone who has contributed to the ignoring of crew as a fall sport. I hope that this article helps improve the school’s recognition of the sport as well as appreciate the time, commitment, and physical effort that goes into each season of crew. 



Link to color photo: