People, Not Profits
Updated: Jul 20
When people ask me what the biggest impact Stanford made on me, I tell them about the rowing team.
I tell them about the instant family you make your first van ride to the boathouse.
I tell them about the discipline of waking up at 5 am for practice after submitting an assignment due at midnight.
I tell them about the rush of representing your institution on the national stage.
I tell them about the pride of being the last sport where you can feasibly walk-on your freshman year in September, and be a National Champion come June.
I tell them about Saturday brunch with the team.
In rowing, there’s this shared feeling that you’re not a spectator sport. There is no nationwide glory that comes with winning a race, even though you train just as hard, if not harder than every other athlete on campus.
It’s a feeling of pride, knowing that you won’t have a lucrative career after college, and you won’t sign a multi-million dollar deal. You are doing this for you, and the 8 other athletes in your boat. Not for fans. Not for money. But for your rowing family.
And I tell them that, because to me, my Stanford career was defined by my time with my teammates. They made me stronger. They made me smarter. They made me a fighter.
To quote 3 time collegiate national champion, Stanford alumna, and aspiring Olympian Christine Cavallo,
“Stanford athletics doesn’t make profits, it makes people.”
And Stanford is nothing without its people.
- John Coffey '19 MA '20