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  • Stanford Rowing

People, Not Profits

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

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

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