by Ellie Bell (Tisch '18)
Dear Novice Ellie,
Good morning! Rise and shine! It’s 4:30AM, time for crew! I know novice year is rough. Your bed is still calling you, your boat hasn’t found it’s set, your 2k time isn’t what you wanted and, you didn’t even start talking with your team until February. Crew is a tough sell, but you stuck it out. You’re varsity now. You’re more than two years in and you’re doing it. Look, I know we didn’t really buckle down right away but, I’m writing you from a happier version of yourself to tell you what I know now and what I wish I knew when I was you.
Firstly, get up. You get up at 4 now, 3:50 if you want coffee. You jog to the bus and the train. You read a book on the way to practice. You see the sunrise at least four days a week and now the mornings are comforting. Your night-vision is ninja-level and you layer like a boss. So wipe the sleep out of your eyes and start being grateful for the lifestyle that this sport has allowed you.
Also, Ellie, for god’s sake, work out! Push yourself. The first time you pulled a sub-8 2k, you felt the pride of a full year of hard work and you’re looking at years more to get that time even lower. Don’t stop working, that’d be a waste. You love the gym, you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished. Allow yourself to achieve that level of pride as early as possible. Just keep asking yourself: What do you want out of this? How badly do you want it? Remind yourself: Prove it.
Lastly, be grateful for your teammates. As a rower and a human, be grateful. You have thirty-five hooligans who are committed, hard-working, funny, and passionate about things you know nothing about. Take advantage of all the good vibes they’re sending. You’re family now, you can’t shake those meme-making, pasta-eating, spandex-wearing boat-lovers no matter how hard you try.
It’s going to suck sometimes but, you don’t give up. You won’t always get the seat you want, you’ll have a bad taste in your mouth, you’ll get annoyed or grumpy one morning, but these are your people. Love your people. Make garlic bread for your people. Lend people your jacket on cold mornings. Scream at your people to pull harder on a 2k. Squeeze your people tight when you win a medal. Be thankful for your people. Work harder than you knew you could, for your people.
So really, keep it up, kid. This team is important.
Your Varsity self
P.S. You still miss water at the catch and at this point it’s like Ellie, for real? Like, just drop your blade then drive. Jeez.