Column by Ashley Beall
I’m a member of the Drake University women’s rowing team. A lot of people don’t know we exist. We practice before most of the school wakes up at 5:30 every morning. Most people don’t even realize we have a rowing team.
We’re not a part of the Missouri Valley Conference because well, there aren’t exactly many rowing teams in the Midwest. Instead we row with the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference). People ask me about rowing and how I like it, and I automatically respond with, “I love it.” But that’s not the whole truth.
I do enjoy rowing, but what makes it 10 times better is the people I share it with.
Rowing is the ultimate team sport. You have to follow the girl in front of you and match the rate of the person stroking the boat. A lot of people assume that it’s kind of like kayaking or, “Row, row, row your boat,” but it’s so much more complex than that. You have to mentally push yourself with every stroke you take in the boat and make sure you aren’t rushing the slide or that you have sloppy technique. So much work goes into rowing that many people might not know about.
So why do I put myself through this and wake up every morning at the crack of dawn? The answer is simple: my teammates.
I push myself for them. I work hard for them. I do all this because they do the same for me. That’s how it works in a family.
I’ve known I’ve wanted to be a Bulldog since birth. My dad graduated from Drake, and he passed his love of Drake onto me ,and last year I made the big move from California to Iowa. I’ve never looked back. I had an amazing freshman year, and it’s because of the girls on my team. They welcomed me to Drake with open arms and made me feel like I’m a part of something.
But I’ve made it my mission this year to not just support my own teammates in everything we do but also the rest of the athletes and students of Drake.
I want to attend as many of the sporting events that I can and set up my spirit table that I usually do at football games. I want to impact the lives of those around me and pass on the same feeling of unity that rowing gave me. In the Drake athletic department, all athletes are committed to the Bulldog Way in which we take a promise to act with integrity.
Our commitment this year was inspired by Drake legend Paul Morrison and how as athletes, we’re all in and all in together. I want to spread this to the rest of Drake by coming out and supporting not only athletic events but all sorts of different groups here on campus. I plan on attending any choir concerts, musical performances, plays and so on.
We are all Drake Bulldogs, and we are all in this together.