June 3rd’s Bainbridge Island Rowing end-of-year banquet was a raucous, well-attended event, focused on lots of eating and, more important, honoring the hard work of the team’s novice and varsity rowers, including 13 graduating seniors.
About 175 people filled Island Center Hall, which had scores of chairs lined up and facing the stage. Long tables across the back of the room were overloaded with pizza boxes and side dishes brought by parents and other volunteers. Attendees queued up to wait their turn for food and, within about 45 minutes, almost everything was consumed, not surprising at an event attended by hungry rowers.
After BIR Board President Sue Entress welcomed the crowd, Head Coach and Novice Boys Coach Tim Goss gave a brief speech about BIR’s initials and their alternate meaning. Goss told the crowd that B stands for Balance. He explained that rowers need to keep the boat balanced in order to glide efficiently through the water; but student rowers must also achieve balance among their studies, their family obligations, and rowing.
I, said Goss, was for Inspiration—specifically, that by coaches, by rowers’ peers, and even by the natural marine environment, whether Eagle Harbor or wherever a regatta happens.
Finally, R, said Goss, was for Resilience. This important trait is something that all rowers learn to develop in order to be able to pursue this challenging sport. Goss explained that resilience is mirrored in the club as a whole, which has grown from a single boat in 2001 to a large club sending rowers to nationals competition and building a rowing center to serve the needs of Kitsap County.
Varsity Boys Coach Bruce Beall, Varsity Boys Assistant Coach David Miller, Varsity Girls Coach Megan Ledoux, Varsity Girls Assistant Coach Olivia Gangmark Strickland, Novice Girls Coach Nicolai Otte, and Goss handed out certificates to the rowers. Beall and Ledoux introduced each of the graduating seniors, 11 girls and 2 boys, with praise and brief descriptions of the rowers’ main character traits.
In addition, the graduating varsity captains introduced the new captains, who had earlier been selected by their teammates. The new captains of the Varsity Boys are Josh Philip, Chandler Johnston, and Nicolai Sublett. The incoming Varsity Girls captains are Tessa Longley and Paige Montgomery.
The graduation of 11 girls from varsity will leave a gap that novice rowers are eager to fill. At the conclusion of the end-of-year banquet, as part of an ongoing tradition to symbolize their graduation to varsity, the novice rowers—22 girls and 11 boys—trotted past a double line formed by the varsity rowers down the center aisle and past the four upright oars held by the incoming varsity captains.
All in all it was a fun evening with a touch of nostalgia for BIR’s graduating seniors and the excitement of new beginning for the incoming varsity rowers.
Photos by Patrick Batson and Sarah Lane.