For 15 hours a week, fall rowers train tirelessly to improve their skills. They support each other. They practice. They compete. However, despite all this hard work, these athletes cannot receive sports credit for their participation in fall crew.
Although most fall rowers are able to obtain their mandatory sports credit, whether by participating in spring crew or in another sport, the high school’s refusal to grant credit for fall crew can be frustrating to athletes.
According to an email from Health and Fitness Department Chair Tina Bozeman, rowers cannot receive credit for fall crew because the high school does not recognize it as a sport.
Sophomore Solomon Sakakeeny-Smith said that the high school only funds the spring crew season, leaving the team to pay the expenses for fall crew.
“The school funds spring crew, which is great. But we also need to raise money by crowdfunding. During the fall and early Spring, we hold a lot of fundraisers,” Sakakeeny-Smith said. “Crew is a very expensive sport. You need thousands of dollars worth of boats, oars and uniforms.”
Sophomore Eve Waldron said that the fall crew team does not compete under the school’s name.
“In the fall, we have a club name. It’s Friends of Brookline Rowing instead of just Brookline High School rowing,” Waldron said. “But, in the spring we are BHS rowing.”
The high school’s policy ensures that athletes such as Waldron and Sakakeeny-Smith receive sports credit only for their participation during the spring crew season. However, rowers participating in fall crew can face difficulty obtaining their credit if they choose not to play a school sport during the winter or spring seasons.
Junior Isabelle Shah was a coxswain during fall crew her sophomore year, but she left for the China Exchange program last February, missing the spring crew season.
“I had to go to Tina Bozeman, and she wouldn’t count the complete fall season as credit,” Shah said. “So, in China, I had to write about 10 essays about the book Spark. I personally would’ve liked to know a bit earlier—and I would’ve preferred to receive credit.”
Sophomore Cecelia Wilson rowed during the fall and is now planning to run a marathon through the Dreamfar club. However, both organizations are clubs where members do not receive sports credit for their participation.
To receive the credit, the school administration told Wilson to replace her second-semester elective with a health and fitness class.
According to Wilson, student-athletes without semester-long electives or free blocks can sometimes negotiate a contract that allows them to earn credit for playing sports outside of school.
“I have a friend who’s doing the same thing as me—fall crew and now Dreamfar instead of spring crew,” Wilson said. “She was able to get a contract, but she had to go see Ms. Bozeman multiple times and push to get the contract. It took a lot of effort.”
Some athletes, including Waldron, believe the school’s policy to be unfair.
“It’s a lot on your body, so in my opinion, it’s the same as taking a health and fitness credit. It’s a six-day-a-week practice and you’re working as much as you are in the spring,” Waldron said.
Sakakeeny-Smith said that fall and spring crew include about the same degree of competitiveness.
Though almost all fall crew athletes eventually receive credit as they participate in spring crew, students like Shah and Wilson feel like they should receive compensation in the form of credit for participation in the fall season.
“It’s a lot of work. We’re putting in the effort, and we’re putting in the hours,” Shah said. “Credit should be given where credit is deserved.”