Bucknell Women's Rowing Journal - Jennie Trayes
April 16, 2008
Celebration and praise have not been a big part of my experience on the Bucknell rowing team. It has always been about doing this thing we love called rowing, doing it for ourselves and our teammates, and doing it the best we possibly can. Going to the Knecht Cup was about the progression, the improvements, and the evolution from one race to the next -- heat, semifinal, final. The final result was not the focus. If winning was what it took to get us to the next level, then so be it, but our thoughts were not on the gold.
We went into each race with a distinct plan of execution, and for the most part, we followed through. After the semifinal we needed to refocus. It was easy, with the beautiful weather and great people, to forget the reason we were in South Jersey. We were competing to be better rowers. Coach told us to step onto the battlefield on Sunday for our final like warriors, ready to fight for blood, ready to risk it all. Fittingly, the eight rowers (Our coxswain Jeweliet couldn't stand the gore) had just watched the movie 300, our new-found inspiration. We went into the final focused and determined to get as much as we could out of the last race of the weekend. Our nerves dissipated when the official said "row," and we were in the piece.
Coach has never been one for short speeches. He likes to get the point across by repeating key phrases and reiterating main ideas. After winning the Knecht Cup, it was the same deal. We rowers struggled to remember what we felt during the race while our coxswain related her accounts of our most recent 2,000-meter piece. When we finished, I excitedly ran over to my brother and sister-in-law. They, for the first time that I can remember, were curious to hear what coach was saying. They guessed his words were, "Ladies, great job! You feel this? Yeah! We need to bottle up this feeling of success. This is what I want to feel at the end of every race." Good try guys, but not quite.
Our talk after the final was a review of what we had learned from the race. Coach encouraged us to take our experiences of having fast crews beside us and of rowing in the windy weather and "add them to our toolbox." The Knecht Cup final, however, taught us a lot more than just rowing skills of squaring up early and getting the blade in with the wind. In the Bucknell Varsity 8, it taught us to trust each other. At the end of the day, I might not remember coach's exact words, but I'll always remember the feeling of the seven girls behind me. Each stroke I can picture them breathing, driving, and completing over and over again. There is an unspoken agreement between us that we will do more than just use our legs for each other. We would do anything. The nine of us in this crew and the other 44 women are more than a just a team. We are an army. This is Bucknell.
- Jennie Trayes '08