Team Culture

Our team culture means rigging the boats you're not racing in.

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about the team culture: what I think it is, and where we want it to go.  As I have conversations with prospective student-athletes especially this comes up a lot.  Who are we?  What kind of community do we have?  And what are we striving to become?

In no particular order, here are some of the thoughts I’ve had.

We should be a team built on the idea that anyone can start rowing here, but only those who are passionate, engaged, and committed to the daily practice of great rowing will stay.

Results should never get in the way of improvement, and improvement should be a collaboration between the coaches and the athletes.  Neither results, or improvement, should ever interfere with a love of the sport, but if we love the sport we’ll be striving for both daily.

There is no room for superstars on this team.  I’m interested in teammates who are smiling and enthusiastic at 5:30 AM, I’m interested in teammates who are fired up for seat racing, win or loose, I’m interested in teammates who are willing to push to a higher effort in order to make those around them better.

Servant leadership is one of my favorite concepts; lead by working to help those around you.

Fun is integral.  This sport is such a wonderful privilege.  My favorite days have been the days we’ve been performing the best with big smiles on our faces- days in high-pressure races, with lots on the line, when those around us were stressed and dour, and our athletes were laughing and joking and still racing well.  Focused, relaxed, determined, and fun can all exist in the same space.  Those are the best days.

We do things the right way.  I love being part of the team that has the first trailer loaded, I love being part of the team that can get a boat from the trailer to the water in ten minutes when another program needs to borrow it on short notice.

The sport is hard.  Rowing at Lewis & Clark great, but it’s important to recognize we’ve got some challenges with our place.  Challenges, daily, make you better.  We don’t do this because it’s the easy path- we do it because it makes us better people.  And at the end of the day, at the end of the season, it’s immensely satisfying to look back on the challenges overcome and the journey you’ve taken.


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