Richard Golden had just come down to NC State from Mahanoy City, Pa. He swam and played golf in high school, but he was looking for a club sport he could join while going to school. So he went with the one thing he knew nothing about–rowing.
“They said there was no experience needed,” Golden says. “I had not had any experience with it before.”
Golden, a junior, is the president of NC State’s club rowing team. He and the men’s and women’s teams face their biggest regatta of the fall season this weekend in Chattanooga, Tenn., at the Head of the Hooch. But it’s not just the other national teams at the event NC State’s team has to worry about.
The team is not a varsity sport at the university, so the team receives money from NC State’s Club Sports department. But the team also relies on a self-sustaining model and flea-market fundraisers to simply be able to compete. Members have to pay $200 a semester. That money goes to rack fees at Lake Wheeler, where they have afternoon practices, funding for equipment, and travel money for the usual eight-hour van rides to a competition.
But it’s the camaraderie on those van rides that Golden points to as the reason for rowing and surviving the 6 a.m practices they also hold at Carmichael Gym. “We’re a smaller team,” he says. “We only have 20 people now. It’s a good thing to get involved with because we’re really close.”
Golden says that the fall season is comparable for track’s cross-country season in the fall. It sets up the team’s endurance for spring competition.
Though he knew nothing about it, Golden speaks enthusiastically of the sport he wishes would become a little more well-known on campus. It’s a sport, he says, unlike any other. “There’s something about when we’re on that water,” he says. “It takes so much more for rowing because it’s out on the water. There are no breaks and timeouts like in other sports. There’s nothing that doesn’t hurt when I’m done racing.”