The crew team can usually be seen down by the river, in the weight room or in the cafeteria wearing boathouse jackets, spandex or sweatpants, but there is one time a year we break out our dress wear for the annual Crew Formal.
This highly-anticipated event is one of the highlights of every rower’s year. It is a night dedicated to the entire rowing program at Marist and attended by both the student athletes and the coaches. The entire night couldn’t have been more relaxed. Everyone immediately hit the dance floor and spend the night dancing; we even got Coach Ricky to spend a few minutes showing us his favorite moves. The dancing queens of the night were definitely Coach Tom Sanford’s daughters, though. The energetic young girls danced with everyone and it was fun to spend time with the coaches and their families outside the boathouse and without rowing on the mind.
The formal took place toward the end of winter training and right before our annual trip to Clemson University over Spring break. Winter training is the rigorous pre-season that is both mentally and physically exhausting, so having the formal at the end of winter training is very strategic; we work hard all through the pre-season and the reward is a wonderful night out with our teammates.
As usual, the morning of formal started off with 6:30 AM practice, but there was so much excitement in their air because we knew a fun night was ahead. The formal took place at Christo’s Restaurant right in Poughkeepsie and buses brought the teams from Marist to the venue. There was a cocktail hour, dinner and dessert served, but that was overshadowed by the happiness on everyone’s faces. It truly was an enjoyable night spent with my team.
My favorite parts of the formal were being able to get dressed up, bond more with my teammates and spend time with my coaches outside of a practice or regatta environment. While most of my life and the lives of my teammates revolve around rowing, it was nice to take a step back and realize that while crew brings us together as a team, we do need to remember to have fun and take our minds off the sport.
Like I said, the formal occurs just before the start of the first regattas, so the formal was the perfect start to the Spring season. We know that we have a lot of work ahead of us and we’re excited about what the next few months will bring, but I’m already looking forward to February for my next crew formal.