MS. REBECCA SHEIR
And now from Monumental Myths to morning time traditions. For 25 years, students at D.C.'s Wilson High School have been rising and shining at 5:30 a.m. to row on the Potomac River. It's the cities only public school crew team. And education reporter, Kavitha Cardoza woke up way before her alarm usually goes off to meet crew members, past and present, at the Thompson Boat House on Virginia Avenue in Northwest D.C.
All right, let's go to head. Ready, up and -- The coxswain's a little person that sits in the boat and yells. My job is to steer and to motivate the rowers and to be a sort of mini coach. (unintelligible) roll, push it out over the water and (unintelligible) .
It's just kind of crazy. I don't think many people can really say why they would do something like this.
So cold. You're just, like, begging to work out so you can get warmer. During the late fall, early spring, you end up finding, like, the water is just much warmer than the air so you end up, like, rowing through a cloud.
Not a lot of people can say they watch the sunrise over the monuments. But we get to do it.
You'll go to school, other people will have only woken up an hour ago while you've been up for four hours already.
It is our role for high schoolers that the boats can't go out without a motorboat for safety and then for coaching. Grab that water, reach, rotate, rotate, rotate, reach for more water and then go.
Like, everyone says, it only takes, like, eight minutes. Like, why are you training so much? In that eight minutes is, like, you put it all on the line.
It's sort of the ultimate individual and team synchronized sport. In the extreme fitness, ability to sprint and explode off the line, but still some stamina and endurance to maintain, but then the whole other dynamic is, you're rowing with seven other people. And so you have to be perfectly in sync.
There's no one super star when you row. Everyone has to work together. And that feeling of, like, you can't, like, point someone out and be like, oh, they messed up. You all work together.
Like, if you do it right, it hurts a lot. And if you do it wrong, it hurts even more. So our coach always tells us to use, like, every muscle we can so it hurts less. Like, we try to use our toes. You're always, like, shocked. You're, like, wow, I did not think I could hurt this much.
That's, one, building, two, 18 ½, three, just building on the drive now, control, four.
The river is definitely a main reason why I row. It's beautiful. You see the city sort of wake up, get started. It's very simple and very beautiful.
It can range from being flat and blue and beautiful or it can be windy and you're kind of getting tossed around in circles. Your stomach gets all queasy.
We'll see a fox on the dock sometimes, see snakes scurry into the water, fish jump all the time, lot of herring and meat birds.
You find, like, joy in the water and the -- it kind of started to feel like you're in on, like, some secret. Kind of feel like you just know about something, like, no one else does.
You can hear bubbles under the boat. And you can feel the wood on your hands and your ore and you can hear all your friends breathing around you. And it's just, it's, like, poetry. It just -- if I could hear one sound for the rest of my life, it would be the sound that you hear when something's going well in the boat.
We heard the voices of past and present Wilson Crew Team members, head Coach Bill McLean (sp?) and students, Kate McQiery (sp?), Teddy Suzukski (sp?), Skyler Hughes, Stewart Mater (sp?), Sam Jeatoglu (sp?), Joefre Fruman (sp?), Meredith Nison (sp?) and Gordon Gatley (sp?) .
Time for a quick break. But when we get back, breaking racial barriers through college football.
MR. DARRYL HILL
I said to coach, you forgot what conference you playing in. The Atlanta Coast conference is segregated. So he said, well, that's just the point, we think we got the right guy to break down the walls of segregation.
That and more in just a minute on "Metro Connection," here on WAMU 88.5.
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