This past weekend the Oakland Tech Rowing Team had its annual Ergathon fundraiser which will hopefully earn around $20,000 for the team. This money goes toward equipment, such as our incredible racing boats (which cost $20,000 to $40,000), new oars, the boathouse on the estuary, and more. It also provides scholarships so that every kid – including those who might not be able to afford the club fees – can row competitively. Did you know that any kid from any OUSD high school can join the Tech team? We have three Skyline team members right now! The Ergathon consists of teams of four rowing 40,000 meters collectively, like a relay race. Team members cheer each other on while each person rows 10,000 meters. This event is tiring, but it bonds the team around a sport we all love. Before the pandemic, kids from all over Oakland, with all different socioeconomic backgrounds, signed up for rowing. But in the last few years, fewer kids have signed up even though there is ample scholarship money available for any potential rowers who might need financial support to join the team.
The feeling of rowing with the team on the water is freeing. I remember the first time I started out. I was scared and anxious that I wouldn’t fit in and that I wouldn’t be good enough, but when I went to practice for the first time, even though it was two months after the season had started, I was accepted immediately. Many team members join halfway through the year and everyone is as openly accepted as I was. If a barrier for anyone out there is anxiety, just know that everyone else who has joined the team felt the same way and many of them have now gone on to place well in national races. Since then, I have made a ton of friends on the team, including kids at other schools. Rowing not only provides you with the best community, coaching by Olympic athletes, and incredible exercise, but it is also a path to college scholarships. We are open to any who would like to join our team.