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Queen Mary’s Rowers: a strange breed

Boat Club just isn’t like the other sports societies at Queen Mary. We make the conscious choice to travel on the tube for two hours twice a week to float on a specific part of the Thames. Likewise, we get hideously sweaty on the ergs in Qmotion (rowing machines they ain’t) and spend preposterous sums of money on club branded lycra.

This may explain the fact that we can often feel like the outsiders in Drapers. Even though, like Rudolf, we find ourselves being Queen Mary’s shining light at the greatest inter-university sporting events, we’re still not allowed to join all the reindeer games. This could be because we’re a bit odd (as explained above), or it could be due to the fact we partake in rowing.  The sport connotes old money, private education, social elitism and fundamentally being a bit ‘rah’. Obviously it’s because we’re odd; such a nonpartisan and open minded university would never have a problem with a society with a noticeable right wing contingent and a Tory-loving president.

The club has problems, but so does every sports club at Queen Mary. The reason for us having to travel so far to train is that we share a boat house in Chiswick with all the Rowing clubs from people’s first choice London Universities. We’ve got the least money, the fewest members, the worst boats, probably go on the fewest outings and have to rack our boats in the spaces where other clubs don’t want to rack theirs. That list is pretty damning; you’re probably wondering why all of our fresher ladies didn’t join cheerleading where they can be part of a club that’s recognised nationally as one of the best of its type. Well, we seldom can’t race for lack of means, we don’t have the worst rowing technique, we’re grateful for what we have and we often do rather well in competitions* – all while enjoying ourselves immensely. Just like the Scottish Rugby team, we are greater than the sum of our parts.

*Actual boat races can prove challenging for us; filling seats in boats can be difficult for a small club. However, we do always fill seats in session – at these boat races we’re much more successful. New members are just as likely to see an improvement in pint time as they are 2k time.

What I have said does nothing to explain how or why we do what we do, but I hope it persuades you to agree with the description of our rowers as a ‘strange breed’. Everyone in our club is one where ‘everyone knows everyone’, and we let all the nutcases that show up on our doorstep row. Neil Armstrong once said that “Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand”. I hope this eccentric description of Boat Club will lead you to be one of those nutcases and make the greatest decision of your university career.

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