What it Means to be an Athlete

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What it Means to be an AthleteA group of high school girls who have all joined a crew team for various reasons. Some are athletes, some want scholarships, some are the right body types, some have never been athletes, some have friends on the team, and some are being made to by their parents. The team is small and no cut and always in need of more rowers. As they row they come together as a team, they all gain in confidence and learn what it is to be an athlete both on and off the water. The protagonists are a novice four, that means five girls who have never competed in crew before racing a boat with four rowers and a coxswain (cox for short). The coxswain is normally small, in High School women’s rowing they try to get as close to 110 pounds as possible, who yells out commands, steers the boat, and encourages her rowers. She is the only one facing forward and is generally sitting in the back of the boat. The four rowers in a four face backwards. The stroke is the rower closest to the cox and faces her. Behind the stroke are 3 and 2 and bow is in the front or bow. Although the novice four is not the entire team, the boats practice in shifts so they don’t spend much time with the rest of the team.

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The five girls are all there for different reasons. The cox, Hannah, is actually the only one who had been involved in sports before, but she is the smallest, loudest, and most of a leader. Stroke is Amanda, who is tall and has the “ideal” build for crewing and decided to start in hopes of getting a scholarship when she goes to college. Lauren, the three seats, is being forced to participate in a sport by her mother and heard that you wouldn’t have to run for crew. Diana, two seats, is Amanda’s best friend, and decided to tag along, and Jessie who thought she’d join for kicks is bow. Once they are set into boats, they have their first water practice as a team. Their coach, Molly, grew up having to fight for the right to participate in a sport other than cheerleading or dance, and feels that the girls have to live up to her legacy. They should be proud and see themselves exclusively as athletes, especially when they don their uniforms.

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