This is easily the most frequent question varsity rowers receive when trying to recruit a new class - why should I row? Why is it worth the time, the commitment, the effort, etc. Why shouldn't I spend my time at Carolina doing something else?
Any rower who as ever won a nail-biting, adrenaline pumping close race would quickly be able to tell you at least part of it - there is no greater feeling than beating another crew. Well of course, this could be said of any sport. It's always great to win. However winning in rowing, especially in a close race, feels different. The races are approximately six minutes long yet are still considered a sprint. Within those six minutes, there is a constant ebb and flow of action. From the sidelines rowers look very calm, however in the boat the stroke becomes a dance of art and raw aggression. Taking a perfect stroke becomes euphoric, and moving down another boat in perfect harmony with your teammates will often form your greatest memories.
One of the greatest aspects of rowing is that it, unlike almost any other sport, is an absolute direct result of how much work you put into it. Some people are born natural rowers, and some have a much higher level of potential in which they can reach. But in the end, only rowers who are actually willing to work in order to improve will ever be great. It is impossible to know how good of a rower someone will be until often years of doing the sport. It is such a complex and unique skill that sometimes the worst rowers the first time they sit down will be the best by the time they graduate. All of the work that is done throughout the year will be realized in the championship regattas, and the teams that win are not necessarily the most naturally talented, but the ones that put in the most work throughout the year.
The experiences that rowing provides are unparalleled amongst the clubs at UNC. Rowing is one of the oldest sports still active in the United States, and has created a wonderfully unique culture. Regattas turn into spectacles, and cities such as Philadelphia and Boston transform for some of the largest races (you many even be on ESPN if your boat does well enough). You will find yourself connecting with other rowers across the nation and sharing the experiences you have had throughout the years.
Finally, often the greatest experience of rowing is the friendships you will form. What often starts off as getting dinner after practice or chatting in the boat (not while rowing of course) will almost certainly lead to lasting friendships down the line. It is an absolute guarantee that those who row together throughout the years become amazing friends. No one else will understand what you do and why you do it better than the group of people you row with.
Rowing may appear to be a large commitment, however if you have any interest we ask that you come out for at least the first week of practices. The worst thing that can be done is to never give it a shot.