Beach Crew lives by this famous quote stated by former CSULB President, Dr. Robert C. Maxon, who always encouraged students to take advantage of the collegiate experience. “If the only thing you do in college is go to class, then you have not had the full college experience.” Here are clear examples of President Maxon’s vision at work:
I was asked to sit down and write about my experience with the team. I am at a loss for what to say now as I was back then. As a female coxswain for the Men’s Varsity Team, I think it has been a very unique experience. I came into the sport not knowing anybody; driving up to the boat house the first dark and early morning was a weird feeling. How would I know where to go? What would be required of me? I was put in the Varsity 8+ boat my first week and there’s nothing more daunting than being in charge of eight men who are well over six feet and who know far more about the sport than you do. I’ve learned a lot since then, not just the sport, but in myself as well. I’ve made friends I’ll treasure for the rest of my life and I’ve found a place at CSULB where I belong. Yeah, there’s times I’m frustrated and I can’t find the will to drag myself out of bed, but then I get to the boathouse and I see the men I’ve come to consider the brothers I never had growing up. That makes me feel at home. I’m with them every morning, between classes, and all weekend. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks to the family I’ve found here, I know my college experience and life will be richer. I’m so grateful for what I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of and so grateful for each and every friend I’ve made in that special place.
Men’s Varsity Coxswain
Rowing was never something I considered doing. I grew up in Covina, which is nowhere near the ocean. While I am an avid wake boarder, I was never drawn to a team sport. Honestly, I may have heard about rowing when it was featured in the Olympics, but never again until my dad made a comment to me before my entry into the college life this year. About a month before I started at CSULB, he told me, “Ian, you are going to a great school by the beach and you should think about experiencing something that only such a school could offer.” So after thinking about his guidance, I took a look at the BeachCrew.org website. Interesting… buff looking rowers, happy faces, and medals around their necks… I decided I would look into this more and give it a shot. I had nothing to lose and much to gain.
I arrived at the Week-of-Welcome BBQ and met many of the rowers, alumni, and coaching staff. “So far so good,” I thought to myself. The evening was enjoyable. “I think I’ll give practice a shot.” Monday morning came along and I arrived at the Pete Archer Rowing Center for my first practice. Some of the varsity squad put me on a crazy looking contraption called an Erg and taught me the basic techniques and skills needed to be a rower. The Erg wasn’t too hard and I was finding this all quite enjoyable. That all changed when I went out for the first time in a boat a few days later. “This is CRAZY! WHAT WAS I THINKING? I have never done anything so difficult in my life!” I was stunned at how the varsity squad could keep their boats from flipping and how they all looked so seamless and coordinated. I was feeling anything but seamless and coordinated.
Now let’s fast-forward a few more weeks. I have a better grasp on things. True, my timing can still be off from time to time… OK, perhaps everyday my timing goes off… but I have been making steady progress. I anxiously awaited our first race in Newport Harbor, hoping beyond all hope that I would make the cut. Guess what? I did! I made one of the spots in the Men’s Novice 8+ “A” boat and had the honor of representing The Beach at the Newport Autumn Rowing Festival. When we raced past that finish line on that amazing day, I knew that despite the 4:55 AM wake up every morning, the tough 10,000 meter erg workouts, and the “crabs” I have caught, I made the right decision to experience competitive rowing. I am finding mental toughness that I never knew about in myself, and working hard to help the team excel. The coaches have broken me down, but I coming back stronger, and am ready to bring the thunder and show our competitors that the Beach Crew tradition is already deeply rooted in the Men’s Novice team.
Thunder Bringer & Novice Rower