The Transformative Experience of Stanford Rowing
If you told me 3 years ago that I would be a member of the Stanford Men’s Rowing team, waking up at 5:20 A.M., training in the morning and afternoon, studying all day and night, and loving every second of it while excelling academically, I would not have believed you. If you told me 10 months ago that instead of celebrating the end of our season, we would be mourning the end of our team, I would have thought I was in the middle of a nightmare. The truth is, though, that our lives changed in the snap of the administration’s fingers. My time on the Stanford Rowing Team was a rollercoaster of emotions and everything that I could have hoped for and more. The idea of not being able to experience it to its fullest makes me feel like I have been robbed of an integral part of my identity. Following in the Stanford Men’s Rowing tradition of excellent seasoned rowers and emerging novices was enthralling. I was an experienced high school varsity athlete who did not begin rowing until the end of my junior year, and it provided a seismic change in my life. Being welcomed onto the team by upperclassmen with open arms made my transition from Madison, Wisconsin, to Palo Alto seamless and wonderful. With any college sport, it would be very easy for a freshman to be intimidated and scared off by tradition and accomplished older teammates, but the rowing team did every single thing right. The fact that this was stolen from us behind our backs makes it all the more cruel. Like the other 10 sports, my fellow rowers and I exemplified the best that Stanford has to offer: intellectuals committed to the highest level of performance in their chosen craft. How Stanford, who is so committed to cultivating the whole person, can arbitrarily remove extracurriculars for 240 of its students stuns me. This year was transformative. I would give anything to return to life as we knew it on July 7th, when we were full of hope and living the Stanford dream.
-Jack Clark, Class of 2023