Rowers: Serious question from an outsider about your sport.
Updated: Apr 9, 2019
There is a standard social media phrase these days, opinions expressed are solely my own, which in due deference to a group of individuals I have had the privilege of working with over the last seven years, is one that I need to emphasise again, these opinions are my own.
It’s a question to those who run rowing clubs, teach rowing at schools and the rowing media. Do you really actually value the efforts of the elite rowers in your sport?
As an outsider who has been blessed by great support from one club and over 15 elite GB Rowers in delivering a project that has raised £57K for numerous good causes, I don’t see much evidence. There is of course a symbiotic relationships between the grass roots and elite levels, even I know full well that these elite rowers would not exist without the unstinting efforts of club officials, schools, volunteers etc but I would also strongly argue that the main reason people take up the sport is inspired by high profile successes at the Olympics. In short, you need each other.
In cycling we are jammed at every opportunity we provide to meet gold medallists from their sport, and have raised over £335K net in donations to good causes. In rowing, meh. Every opportunity to a rowing club to cost and risk free use these GB Rowing days to generate funds meets their inbox with a resounding and overwhelming thud of indifference. The two clubs that did try, one University, one a town based club worked immensely hard to get members to engage with these days to raise funds, and not one member was interested.
At schools level. Three recent fundraising events, did not even have the courtesy to respond to the opportunity. Yet, when charities do infrequently present the opportunity, it is the parents of kids that have taken up rowing that in the main generate the £57K the elite rowers have inspired in donations to those charities. The experience is well received as the junior / intermediate rowers spend time with three or four GB rowers, there is always a ratio of six participants to one GB Rower being implemented on these days.
The 200+ people who have attended these days; feedback great praise on the GB Rowers and indeed your sport is blessed by these tremendous ambassadors for the sport, I immensely value the support they have given the overall project which has raised £480k in donations at a cost of £0 to good causes across the country. They are always on hand to help with videos, launches and press quotes, all done without asking ‘how much?’. More importantly, despite the best efforts of the novice crews, not one crew has gone into the water.
But after six years, I am not sure what more can be done, so in September 2019, the oars will be raised for the final time, and the quads placed onto the boat racks ready for their daily duties for our host club.
So with www.sportyparents.com/rowing and the existing days on www.legacy300.com/online-store encouraging people for one last time to donate to good causes, such as sport in schools or to their rowing club, I sincerely would love to get some feedback as to the lack of a response, positive or negative and of course like mine, your opinions will be your own.