Question of the Day

What’s your opinion about teammates drinking? Personally it kinda bothers me but I don’t know if I’m over reacting. I never drink because I just don’t think I need to in order to have fun but if other people want to that’s ok with me. It just bothers me when teammates are out drinking the night before practice or a race. I think it’s sorta disrespectful and just downright stupid especially since we’re high schoolers. If I was to address the situation how would you suggest doing so?

If people want to drink and stuff, by all means, that’s your prerogative and I’m certainly not going to stop you but it should really be kept to a minimum during the season – or not done at all (which I get is a lot to ask of college kids).  There’s a reason why a lot of college teams are “dry” in the spring and why there are consequences for anyone caught drinking during those periods. And yea, underage drinking isn’t the smartest decision but I’m not going to get on a pedestal and tell you all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it … you should be able to figure that out on your own. If you can’t then you’re probably not mature enough to be the type of teammate this sport requires.

Related: What’s your opinion on rowers smoking/drinking? Do you think there can ever be a balance or should athletes just avoid it?

If you’re drinking before practice or a race and you show up hungover, you deserve to be taken out of the boat. Don’t think that people can’t tell that you’re hungover (or still drunk) either because they absolutely can. I’d find some way to make that clear to your teammates that if it’s suspected you’re hungover, you’re not rowing.

Related: Hi, I’m a novice coxswain for a men’s collegiate team. We have 3 8+’s and 4 coxswains so one person always has to sit out. During one of our races, the other novice coxswain got to cox 2 races while I had one. I don’t understand why the coaches picked her over me. She shows up to practice hungover, misses at least one practice a week, and has crashed the boat 5 times. The coaches keep commenting on how impressed they are with me but she always gets the better positions. Do I confront her? My coaches? Or should I shut my mouth and deal with it?

Unless you’re an upperclassman/team captain though, I’d caution against trying to address it with your teammates just because they could take it the wrong way and then there’d be all sorts of unnecessary drama happening. I’d discuss the issue with your coach (especially if they don’t know it’s happening) and then let them figure out the best way to handle it.


3 thoughts on “Question of the Day

  1. Rie says:

    At my D1 school we start sobriety when our season starts. The captains of the varsity team explained to everyone why we do it and that it is taken VERY SERIOUSLY. Our team gets a lot of respect from other sport teams at our school because we have a completely dry season. I think its a good thing to have that policy, College is a chaotic time and if you throw drinking to the mix of school and rowing, things aren’t going to go well. Plus, from stories I’ve heard from some freshies who got drunk the night before practice- its hell in a boat with a hangover. So if someone came to a competition hungover or drunk I wouldn’t want them to be in the boat. There’s another girl on the team who takes crew seriously that can take her place.
    Personally, I just turned 21 and had my first drink the day before it was announced that we were starting sobriety, and since then I’ve been dry. Some other girls who unfortunately are turning 21during the season either take one for the team and wait till the season is over or are going to have just one drink. Either way shows their dedication to the team. Drinking is really overrated in college, sure it can be fun to socialize but its really not that hard to give it up for a few months.

  2. Lilly says:

    I’m at a D3 school. We don’t have a drinking policy per say, but it’s pretty well understood that during fall head race season (where things are less serious overall) we have a few parties- one to kick off the year and meet the novice (we usually dress up and drink wine together but it’s always a party), one around Halloween, one to end our racing season after Head of the Schuylkill. Then we have a Christmas party right before finals to end the fall semester. People do sometimes drink other than this, but if you want the respect of your teammates, you won’t do it the night before practice or a race, you’ll do it Saturday so you can deal with it Sunday, on our off day.
    Spring season is a whole other thing. We go through winter training until spring break, when we go to Miami, and on the last night everyone gets really drunk on the beach before we all leave. From then until after Dad Vails (when we have an insane end of the year party) we are supposed to be dry. People do sometimes break this, but we all generally take it more seriously than fall season.

    • Jessie says:

      I row for a high school team, and it’s completely unacceptable to drink before a practice or race. There are girls who do drink during the season, just not before a practice/race and I think it’s okay if it’s not affecting your performance and you are responsible with it.


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