A new rowing club is looking for approval from the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District board to become a new addition to Unionville High School.
In the past year, 39 students in the UCFSD participated in crew programs in the area and it became apparent to them to look into starting up a club within the district.
“Parent have been talking about it for probably as much as a year,” said Cuyler Walker, an attorney with Pepper Hamilton LLP.
Walker was brought on by parents of rowers to assist them in drawing up the necessary paperwork to approach the board with.
“I was contacted by Glenn Best, one of the parents,” he said. “He asked me to help set up some of the formalities of the program. The club will be organized as a Pennsylvania not-for-profit organization.”
The member are looking for a status with the school as a club instead of part of the athletics, joining Unionville teams such as ice hockey.
“They’re looking for recognition by the school district as an athletic club,” Walker said. “The way [clubs] are set up, they do not receive funding from the school, but they do compete as a team representing the school. They also become eligible to receive a varsity letter for their participation in the sport.”
Students currently involved in crew all have different stories on how they found an interest in the sport and for Garren Best, a senior at UHS, it started when his brother needed to find a new sport because of a concussion he suffered.
“[My parents] were looking for a really safe sport for him to do,” Best said. “He did it and in the spring, I started doing it because I didn’t have a spring sport.”
The Best brothers were rowing out of Wilmington as part of the Newport Rowing Club, where they happened to discover the number of other Unionville students also participating.
“We thought, ‘Wow, this is a really popular sport so why don’t we make this a school club,’” Best said. “That’s what we had all wanted to do. We all wanted to row for our school team. We decided we were going to form the team.”
The idea of the club was brought before the school board at the Jan. 13 work session with a number of rowing students present.
“I saw a lot of smiles from the board,” Best said. “Afterwards, two or three board members contacted our parents and said that was really great that not only your sons but other rowers got involved and got up and spoke what they felt was the truth about rowing.”
The board plans to vote on approval at its next meeting Jan. 21.
With the school already boasting so many activities, the members hoping for a club say this sports provides a different atmosphere and opportunities.
“It’s a total team sport,” Best said. “You hear that a lot in football and basketball, but rowing really is a team sport. I’ve been in a boat where if one person is having a bad day, the entire crew is affected by it. Everybody has to be on point and communicating with one another.”