For one reason or another, I hadn’t attended a URI Crew reunion in about 15 years. I was looking forward to seeing everyone at last year’s Rumble. I had a great time.
Walking down Walmsley Lane brought back a flood of memories. One of the best parts of the day was seeing so many of my fellow rowers. It felt like old times being at the boathouse again. Everyone looked great. Ned Lloyd shared old photos. Ken Pritchard donned his original URI Crew sweatshirt—all torn up. The funny thing is that it looked the same in the early 80’s!
It was a beautiful autumn morning with dew on the ground and a crispness in the air. Lineups were formed, and the smack talk began. Carrying oars to the dock reminded me of “the hill.” As one of the taller rowers in my boat, I instinctively felt the weight of an eight on my shoulder. It’s easier with the men for sure.
It was fun being on the river and “racing” in a URI boat again. Although not all alumni are still rowing, they were fit and ready to rumble. Our boat lost to the other mixed-eight. I’ll see how it goes this year!
The Rumble featured a boat dedication from Jim MacKenzie: A wakeless launch! I thought to myself, URI Crew is “going uptown.” What a great addition! As a rower at the Narragansett Boat Club in Providence, I share the Seekonk River with various launches and fishing boats. So, I have an appreciation for “no wake.”
Coach Bob Gillette and I talked about the new launch, regattas, and the current program. I learned about the separation of men’s and women’s rowing. I told him how that added to my experience with URI Crew. My brother, AJ Nunes, and I rowed at the same time. Rowing co-ed or racing a men’s boat some days made the competition more interesting. We even did a mixed-eight at the Head of the Charles one year. Introducing women back into the club program this year is great. It gives women, who might not otherwise have the chance, an opportunity to row. It’s a sport they may not have tried prior to college. Like many of us, they might find that they like rowing and find success.
URI Crew created a lot of good memories. The Narrow River is still one of my favorite spots to row. URI Crew gave me lasting friendships. It gave me the drive to be competitive, successful and to have fun. I hope that the future generations of rowers have the same experiences. See you all on November 19th. LETS RUMBLE!