‘Tis the season for USRowing galas, marketing blitzes, Christmas wrapping… and lots and lots of good, hard training! New Jerseyhas been blessed with mild temps this holiday season (a welcome relief from last winter! egad), so not only are we practicing on water (hurray!), we’re even practicing in shorts (!!!).
The team will spend the winter in San Diego, so several mornings were spent loading the twenty-eight boats, dozens of oars, and multiple piles of riggers, tools, and boat seats onto the California-bound truck. It was like a scene from Santa’s Workshop: 6’0-tall, muscular, pony-tailed elves scurried around to “gift-wrap” thirty boats in Saran wrap and packaging tape and strap them to the sleigh/trailer. Don’t even get us started on the logistics of getting it all to fit… that’s the true Christmas miracle!
Aside from our multiple daily practices, the team also had several chances to get all prettied up and mingle with fellow rowing enthusiasts. The USRowing Golden Oars Awards Gala was one such event—hosted at the prestigious New York Athletic Club, the event brought together current National Teamers, past Hall-of-Famers, coaches, athletes, and supporters. It was wonderful to meet and chat with the people who help support our Olympic dream, and to honor the notable accomplishments of the evening’s award winners.
December has also seen a huge marketing push for our 2012 Power and Grace Calendar— Autograph signings, selling at local vendors, a fabulous NYC dinner with one of our sponsors, etc etc. The whole experience has not only been a successful fundraiser, but also an incredible publicity outreach for US Women’s Rowing. Hundreds of Princetonians now know of the Olympic hopefuls training and living in their neighborhood, and strangers will wish us luck in the grocery store, walking down the sidewalk, or even during our afternoon practices! (Check out some teaser shots here and here)
A highlight of this experience is our partnership with Whole Food’s Wellness Club, a community-oriented program designed to promote a healthy, active, and nutritious lifestyle. The Princeton Whole Food’s Wellness Club recently sponsored a celebrity meet-and-greet and autograph signing at our local store, and we sold several hundred calendars in just a few hours! Thank you, Whole Foods!
Our group also garnered a shout-out on ESPN radio (!), January’s print edition of Rowing News, and many other local news sources. For all of you who have already purchased a calendar: thank you for your support! Every bit helps! And for all those who are still looking for a last-minute stocking stuffer, or an inspirational boost for January 2012: It’s not too late, there are still a few left online! http://www.thetimefactory.com/products/us-womens-rowing-team
Now we’re off for our respective hometowns for a few days of holiday R&R with friends and family. Looking onward to 2012, I can forsee that the coming months will only become more physically demanding and psychologically intense… I couldn’t survive with all your encouraging words and support—I can’t thank you enough!