CREW: Six Reasons To Celebrate Your Crew

So as you all know I took up rowing again about a year and a half ago. And as you rowers know, all you ever do is train so you gotta really like the peeps you row with!  Since rowing has began I’ve become really close to the women I train with. They work hard, they train hard and I find them a constant source of inspiration. So I’ve made a small list of how I know they’ve cemented themselves into my life… Maybe your team has become the same. Let’s see!


1. You don’t own any socks.

You own several socks. Odd pairs that don’t actually belong to you. They belong to one or all of your crew but you have never given them back because well, you need socks. And they’re not going to begrudge you at all. After all crew is for life and they’ve some of yours!


2. Your training wardrobe just got much larger.

You know when you borrow your friend’s fabarooni white dress!? That one that always gets compliments? Yeah, it’s like that except you are borrowing her ultra snuggly Nike tech top thingy which is way too long on you but hey, you were stuck! And you are so comfortable with each other that gear is not a personal thing anymore. She doesn’t mind if you get it all dirty or sweaty!


3. Non-crew people don’t get you.

So you hang out with your crew so often that when it’s time to be around regular folk you have a hard time not babbling on about your sport. Your coworkers learn a lot but frankly only your crew besties care how much you can squat and whether or not you beat your score from last week. But it’s ok, you’ll see them later on today for training and you can tell them then.


4. Post training chill out.

Post training normally just becomes a squishy couch and warm drinks binge that inevitably goes on a lot longer than it really should until you Significant Other (SO) comes home and states that he feels like a third wheel! But you’re sleepy and have DOMS and these people are going through the same so why not chill for an hour or two… You get them and they get you so there is no need to move. Besides your SO is actually thrilled because he can go and play Grand Theft Auto for the billionth time.


5. You’re outings become one of two things.

Training or eating. When you guys venture out into the world it is either to stuff your faces (because you are always hungry and so are they so there is never any judgement) or to get a personal best! Ye can’t drink so that’s out the window  and let’s face you don’t have time to do anything else. But hey you love to eat! Andy ditto for training… somedays.


6. They are why you push yourself.

In all seriousness, you know you’ve made some serious besties when you are in the middle of the race and your lungs are burning and your thighs are screaming and your head is thinking about nothing but stopping and you realise that if you give up that you’re letting your crew down and that’s when you push. And that’s when you know you’ve made friends for life…. When you do it all for them.


I’m glad I’m friends with my crew… because they keep me going when nothing else will.





Sport: Wrinkly bums and kicking asses

Training as part of a crew can have its ups and downs. Usually, being ‘crew’ is a college thing. College crews are populated with armies of tall fit twenty year olds, with bouncy pony tails, clear skin and perky boobs who get to train twice a day if they wish.

A few PBM members are on a novice crew that rows out of Castleconnell on a stretch of the Shannon between Clare, Tipperary and Limerick.  At regattas, we compete against those college crews, but we’re also trying to hold down jobs, mind children, pay babysitters and somehow squeeze in the 6am sessions that make the difference between winning and losing.

Funnily enough though, it’s not age, or fitness that gives a crew the edge. There’s a special something – a kind of magic that comes when everyone in the boat switches how they think. It’s the difference between ‘I want us to win’ and ‘We want to win’. The sense of self is lost, and you care more about the crew as a whole than you do for yourself. And until you feel it, you can’t describe it. But when it’s there, that’s the magic that makes you think that even with old oars, in a cracked boat, with your cesarean scars and wobbly baby tummy and tired head and bad back, you might just be able to pull off something truly amazing.


This clip was the last session before the National Championships. All summer we had trained and trained. We had more bad days than good. We had some regattas where we came last. Our timing, our starts, nothing worked. And then, at the very last minute, something clicked. “I want” became “We want…” and then we started rowing like this. And on the big day, lined up against those college kids – the magic kicked in, we rowed like angels and we placed bronze in the final.

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