Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA
It was an auspicious day for the fledgling Hillie HS Crew Team, and The Heartbeat of Haverhill was almost as excited as the team members who after voluntarily conditioning on stationary rowing machines since last fall, took to the water for the first time. And it was no ordinary water. It was the Charles River, of the world renowned Head of the Charles Regatta(R) created by the Cambridge Boat Club. The Regatta that according to http://www.hocr.org brings “11,000 athletes and 400,000 spectators” to the riverside each October, that has been showcasing rowing since 1965.
And here they were at the state-of-the-art Harry Parker Boathouse 20 Nonantum Rd, Boston that is operated by Community Rowing Inc. (CRI) http://communityrowing.org – a group of Haverhill rowing enthusiasts, perhaps most of whom had never been on the water before. Many of whom added the opportunity to learn to swim alongside learning to row.
There was a lot of traffic on this section of the river, single rowers, doubles, eights and fours. And they all looked at first to THOH’s untrained eye to be more seasoned than Haverhill.
But Community Rowing Inc. is a welcoming place. In fact their mission is:
“Rowing changes lives. At Community Rowing Inc. (CRI) we are dedicated to fostering a community that is both welcoming and supportive. Under the banner of Rowing for All we make rowing accessible without regard to individual ability, background or experience. We seek to raise the standard of rowing programs through internal excellence and to share our knowledge and expertise with others for the advancement of the sport at all levels.”
Eighteen team members led by Lindsay LaRusso Head Coach of the Haverhill High School Crew Program and Connor Hayden the program’s Assistant Coach learned the basics: how to remove a boat from the tightly packed rack without damaging others, how to put these extraordinarily long vessels into the water, how to enter the boat without damaging it. And finally once on the water, how to begin to work together as a team.
At school and onshore coaching paid off – there were no incidents in the water, no falling in, no damage to property, though the experience was reported to be very, very different than practicing on land. The Hillies had to compensate for currents, wind, geography and the traffic of more rowers than Haverhill’s Merrimack River has seen in decades.
The team started at the Harry Parker Boathouse because it provided an easier access to loading the boats. In two weeks they may try water a lot closer to home. The Heartbeat of Haverhill can’t wait to see the team bring rowing back to Haverhill on a majestic scale.
Wishing you a smooth and swift journey!
PS: Let it be known that The Heartbeat of Haverhill is absolutely new at understanding this sport, so if terminology is incorrect or you want to identify people in the photos, THOH graciously accepts input.