Club or school sport?

McLean crew should be school-sponsored

Photo obtained via Creative Commons

Photo obtained via Creative Commons

Miranda Johnson, Reporter

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Blasting music loud enough to be heard all the way down the hallway, it’s hard to ignore the crew team during one of their practices. During winter conditioning, the team practices in the lecture hall here at McLean, and occasionally will do their workouts in the blue hall when the lecture hall is occupied.

“During the winter we train on land. We typically erg [on the] rowing machine, run, and lift weights, Sophomore Taylor Mooers said. “During the spring we get on the water and. . . row in a boat of 8 or less.”

Crew is one of very few sports teams here that are considered to be club sports instead of school-sponsored. If they were to be funded by the school, there would be more awareness and a greater financial support.

“It would be nice to have some financial support from the school/county,” women’s head coach Bianca Arrington said. “Just providing buses to take our student athletes to and from practice would be a big help.”

During the spring season, rowers practice on the water in Georgetown, Washington D.C. Races, or regattas, are held at the Occoquan river in Prince William, Virginia nearly forty minutes from McLean high school. This commute proves to be a challenge not only transportation-wise, but also by means of expenses. If buses were provided for the team, it would cut back the amount expenses and leave room to buy and replace equipment.

“There aren’t really advantages to being a club but the disadvantages are [that] we aren’t funded,” Mooers said.

Being a club sport, the crew team receives no funding from the school or county like teams in the Virginia High School League (VHSL) are, and have to raise all their own money.

“Club sports are not necessarily VHSL sanctioned, but are FCPS sanctioned and are financially self-supporting activities,” Arrington said.

This can be a challenge when required equipment is expensive, often costing upwards of twenty thousand dollars.

“Crew is an expensive sport. We are a club because we pay for everything ourselves, coaches, equipment, trips, [and] transportation,” Arrington said.

Though it is tough to be in the position they are in, the crew team has found a way to make it work.

“We have to fundraise a lot,” Mooers said. “It’s never fun to spend your Saturdays going door to door. The enrollment fee is a lot of money which sometimes discourages people from joining.”

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