Coaches Brooks Update… Speaking of Senior
For those who are unaware, all Spring Sports at UCI have been suspended due the COVID-19 pandemic. This movement was directed by our campus leadership for the well being and safety of all our student athletes. Additionally, as time passed, all collegiate spring sports, including the entire collegiate rowing season nationwide, was cancelled.
I've typed and deleted this message around 100 times because I'm still in disbelief. I know that we all are, even as we all figure out how to adjust to this new normal.
I’d like to provide some thoughts on where we are and where we are headed as a team and a program.
A great place to start is with our senior rowers. To summarize this year's senior class into a single note will be nearly impossible.
This season's motto was "Turn it to 11", a memento to Rob Reiner's "This is Spinal Tap" where the band's guitar amps could be turned up to 11, not just 10. When the band really wanted to let it out, bam, Turn it to 11.
The motto, led by our senior class, formed the foundation for the 2020 crew. They were always surprising me and our coaching staff with their ability to dial into that next gear, one more deeper down. If you are a rower reading this, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. When you are on the threshold of giving up but you know your teammates have your back and will get you to the finish line if you just hang on, just pour on a bit more, go to 11! Through a survey, the seniors shared that while they enjoy racing and winning tanks from their competitors, their favorite moments were "Turning it up to 11" together as a crew. Their favorite moments were spent together in the boat giving it their all, day in and day out.
This year's senior class was made up of best friends, rivals, mentors, leaders, scholars, and much more. And, remember, these are all walk-on UCI athletes. They recruited each other to the sport! They have deep ties. Their impact on the program will be everlasting;, their leadership to the underclassman will build the next generation of UCI oarsman.
Hours after hearing their UCI season had abruptly come to an end, Bruce Ibbeston, class of ‘75, came down to speak with our oarsman. Bruce spoke about his experience as the stroke of the US eight during the 1980 Olympic year when Jimmy Carter vetoed the US from competing; He described how a greater external event can impact your life. Bruce spoke to the oarsman about them doing all the right things and how they were really starting to find their boat speed. Then bang! A global pandemic broke out and shutdown intercollegiate-athletics countrywide.
Bruce's biggest message was that stopping is in our own hands, "If you quit, you make it official. It’s only when you decide to quit that it ends. That is up to you." Bruce and most of his boat went on to medal in the ‘84 Olympics. So, never say never. We have no clue when this pandemic will end but we are taking steps so that when we can get back on the water, we will be ready to row, as individuals, as a team and as a program. The team is studying remotely, taking online finals and classes, with ergometer, weights, and at-home workout plans in place and evolving as needed.
We will continue our pursuit of excellence as the team will be using Erg Slayer to compete remotely we encourage all to tune in and join in the on fun.
We will never quit. Never have. Never will.
Turn it up to 11, Irvine!
Enjoy the video below: