By Julia Cheunkarndee
Pushing through the pain, junior Alvin Li and his team maneuver their oars to propel the boat swiftly through the water. They competing in crew, a rowing sport that has risen in popularity over the years. For Li, the teamwork aspect is the best part of the sport and is what drove him to further pursue crew.
Li began the sport during his freshman year and was encouraged by his sister. “She was at college and all the rowers said a lot of good things about the sport, so she said I should try it,” he said. Now Li is part of a team of forty, which practices every day after school for three brutal hours. Crew often forces people to their physical limits, as Li has found out. “The pain is the hardest thing,” he said. “People sometimes black out and throw up mid-workout. ”
The combined effort and spirit of his team serves as a great motivator to persist through the tough physical demand. Working in an eight person boat, Li rows with seven other team members. An extra member known as a coxswain, is responsible for steering and commanding as the others row.
Li’s position on the team is as a starboard, or someone that rows on the left. “There’s three total positions,” Li said. “There’s starboard, there’s another one where you row on the right called port. There are also positions where you row on both sides, which is called sculler and you row with two oars.”
Occasionally, Li’s team will travel together on team trips to different races. For Li, these trips are always a significant and enjoyable bonding experience. “Just training together and rooming together is a lot of fun,” he said.
At the end of the day, his team is what keeps Li coming back everyday. “The sport itself isn’t that great; no one likes doing it because it’s a lot of pain, but it’s worth it, I guess. You’re always in shape,” he said.