SPONSORED BY: Sarasota Scullers Youth Rowing Club
Our son’s middle school English teacher suggested to our young man that he might like the Sarasota Scullers and organized rowing. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that that recommendation was the most impactful thing to happen during his entire 3 years of middle school.
Almost immediately after that suggestion our son’s priorities changed, his physical development shifted dramatically, his disposition improved and a social life emerged. We found an antidote for his digital demons and the black hole behind his bedroom door. Ours is a common story, particularly among member families of the Sarasota Scullers Youth Rowing Club. But the story is so powerful that I really want to stand on a rooftop and shout it out all parents in our vicinity with school-aged children.
When a kid makes up his or her mind that the solitude of their bedroom, and their collection of “digital devices” - the cell phone, the laptop and the game console - is where the world begins and ends, those parents are in for a difficult ride. That was the situation in our house. My wife and I are incredibly proud parents of 4 great kids.
Our rower is the youngest of the bunch. He’s just about to enter his freshman year of high school.
Because we had proud successes with our older children we tried many of the same involvements with our youngest. Soccer, basketball, lacrosse, swimming, running, music lessons, art classes, dance lessons, etc. But not one of those activities was right for our youngest. And then his attention to school work faded, just like his interest in those activities. He just wouldn’t respond to incentives, demands, threats or the punishments that we offered.
There was nothing, except solitude, his devices and his online buddies (which we knew absolutely nothing about) that held his interest. Comfort food, hours of stationary game play and a video addiction had him overweight, short tempered, and distant. Many of his greatest qualities were simply overwhelmed by the digital demons. My wife and I
were really concerned and felt a scary lack of control about what was becoming of our child.
It all changed when we followed the advice of that educator, a single mom who had experienced a similar story with her own child. She told my wife that bright kids who are slower to find an activity or a group, or kids with less confidence about themselves often find something special in rowing.
My son has since expressed his experience like this. He said “ you get incredibly close ( to your teammates) very fast. It’s because rowing is a challenge that we never knew anything about and we do it together, side by side. We support each other while it happens. And we bring ourselves to these accomplishments that we just never thought we could do before.”
The experience is truly life changing. Goal setting, determination, compassion, accomplishment and team work ... BIG TIME! All of these fabulous qualities in a youth sports experience. Rowing provides an amazing foundation for physical development, emotional growth and social skills. And he loves it.
The Sarasota Scullers are blessed with incredibly supportive and nurturing coaches. Rowing is amazing by itself. But it can be grueling. Winning and accomplishment is the result of a great attitude, determination and technique. So we feel incredibly lucky to have found the Scullers organization.
Our son remains quite fond of his game machine, for sure. And he is still more likely to forget his shoes or his notebook before he leaves behind his cell phone. But his intentions are to get to that boatyard to accomplish something more with his teammates. And that’s surely a welcome turn of event.
Sarasota Sculler's mission is to transform the lives of middle and high school aged youth in Sarasota and Manatee counties by promoting fitness, health, teamwork and good sportsmanship, as well as high moral and civic standards. No rowing experience is necessary, but once learned, rowing will transform your life.