|Friends of Brookline Rowing - Frequently Asked Questions
This program is funded
in part by a grant from the
Friends of Brookline Rowing (FBR)?
The Friends of Brookline Rowing is the non-profit parents' group which supports Brookline Rowing by paying for operating expenses not covered by BHS and purchasing boats. The FBR provides food and drinks (paid for by your food fee) to BHS rowers and coxswains at most races. FBR runs two major fund raising events each year. The Erg-a-thon (fall) and Crew-a-thon (spring) raise money for racing shells (boats), oars, cox boxes, and scholarships to make sure that rowing is within reach of all those who wish to participate. Contributions are always welcome. Volunteers are always welcome. FBR is a 100% volunteer organization. This program is funded in part by a grant from the Brookline Community Foundation.
How many kids row at Brookline High School?
Crew has the highest number of participants at BHS. There are four teams: two for girls and two for boys. First-year rowers and coxswains are on the Novice teams, and the experienced rowers and coxswains are on Varsity.
Where do they train?
The team uses the Riverside Boathouse on Memorial Drive (across from Trader Joe's and MicroCenter) for training and boat storage. The team pays a fee for this use. We try to be good citizens at Riverside since they could turn us away at anytime.
What is BHS involvement in the crew team?
FBR works closely with the BHS Athletic Department and pays for many of the coaches, insures, maintains, and repairs the boats, and provides transportation to some races.
Who runs the BHS Rowing?
Brookline Rowing is run by the coaches in close coordination with FBR.
What are the hours for practice?
Practice at Riverside runs from 3:00 to 5:30 on weekdays from early March through May; there is also practice on Saturdays before the regatta season. There are usually two practices each day during the April school vacation week (except for Patriot's Day). Races are held on most weekends from early April to the end of May.
What makes a good rower?
Hard work mostly and the ability to endure pain. Being tall helps. Strength and good rowing form can make a shorter or lighter rower more valuable to the team.
What is an ERG?
An ergometer is an indoor rowing machine - also known as the ultimate torture machine. To learn more about how to erg, go to the following web site: Concept 2 - How to Erg
How do we pay for the boats, etc?
The Friends of Brookline Rowing has two major fund raising events during the year. The Crew-a-thon is held every spring. Groups of kids go door-to-door throughout Brookline asking for funds. Parent contributions make up at least 50% of the funds. The Erg-a-thon is held in the early fall. Rowers and coxswains ask family and friends for pledges as they row on ergs set up in Coolidge Corner.
What will be my child's additional costs for rowing?
A food fee (usually $20 for Novice and $40 for Varsity) is collected at the beginning of the season to pay for food provided by FBR at races. Your child may wish to purchase crew t-shirts at some of the big races for about $15. Most rowers are more comfortable wearing spandex shorts, which are about $25 to $30 each. Sophomore athletes may choose to buy a team boathouse jacket, which is a good wet weather repellent. These jackets are popular among our athletes, but are not required. They cost about $170.
Varsity athletes must buy their own uniforms, which cost about $60. Novice uniforms are lent out by BHS and must be returned at the end of the spring season.
How many races are there during the season?
There are races on most weekends in April and May. There are no varsity races on May 1st, to allow juniors to take the SAT. There is a novice race on May 1st.
What should my child bring to crew practice?
A t-shirt, a polypro long-sleeve shirt for early spring practice, spandex shorts, running shoes, socks, and a water bottle. The river is very cold in March and April - long spandex pants and long-sleeve tops are very important. Hats and sunglasses are needed too. No gloves. Most kids wear spandex shorts or pants so that the hem can't get caught on the seat or slides of the ergs or the shells. An extra set of dry clothes for after practice isn't a bad idea either.
What is my responsibility as a parent?
Many hands are needed to support the team at regattas. Please contact Katrina to offer your help at the races you attend. Besides financing, driving to practice and races, and cheering at races, help is needed for the Erg-a-thon and the Crew-a-thon fund raisers.
How would you describe watching a race?
Occasionally it rains and is cold. Sometimes it is beautiful. Parents arrive in plenty of time to stand around talking and waiting for the race to begin, checking their watches regularly. The races start late. You squint (even with binoculars) trying to see if the kids coming down the river have the appropriate color oars/boat/uniform (each team has uniquely painted oars). You cheer for about 30 seconds as the kids row by and then you wait around for the boat to come out of the water so that you can have your child pretty much ignore your presence or perhaps ask for money to buy yet another T-shirt. Even though your child is bound to say, don’t bother coming to the races, you really should come and see what they are spending all that time doing after school. The FBR sets up tents (bought with contributions from previous fund raisers) and provides food/drinks for the athletes. Come to at least one race to see the set-up and where your contributions are going. We can’t emphasize it enough – ignore your child and make a point of coming to the races. Find our tents and introduce yourself around.
What should spectators bring to a race?
These are mostly all-day events, but you can arrive / leave at anytime. Dress for the weather - unlike your athlete you won't be moving to stay warm. Bring good binoculars, maybe a folding chair, a camera, an umbrella, and a smile.
Is there any summer, fall or winter BHS crew activity?
Our coaches are working on expanding our summer and fall programs to include all of our athletes.
Winter training (erging, running, and yoga) is held from about November 1st until the beginning of the spring rowing season. There is a separate fee of about $350 for Winter Training.
Can rowing help my child get into college?
We like to think so, but it is hard to tell. Rowing seems to help women more due to title IX. Scholarships do exist—again mostly for women. However, colleges do look on rowers as students who have demonstrated amazing dedication to a most disciplined sport.
How do I get information during the season?
Information is provided through emailed notices and the Friends of Brookline Rowing web site.
Most information is provided through email to parents since notices sent home with the rowers always seem to end up at the bottom of a backpack, usually wet. To get onto the email list, please send a note to Katrina Regan and provide as many email addresses as you would like.
Are there any good books on rowing?
Two fine books on the subject for both rowers and parents:
Mind Over Water: Lessons on Life From the Art of Rowing
by Craig Lambert
by David Halberstam
How can I learn more about rowing?
See our Rowing Glossary and Rowing Links for more rowing information.