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The Campus Lantern

Brendan’s transformation


As the rest of the team slams weights on the ground, 200, 300, and 400 pounds, Brendan sits alone watching in awe. His teammates, only a few years older than him, seem to have a lifetime of athletic progress compared to Brendan. Even though he trains as hard as he can, the level of his teammates seems impossible to catch up to. What were his teammates doing that he wasn’t? Well, every day after a grueling two-hour practice the other members of the team would make their way to their gyms and train even harder for the remainder of the night. However, Brendan’s intense school schedule limited his abilities to train later and later at night, or so he thought.

When Brendan first joined the SCH crew team, he was not even average, but rather very below average. Every day he would watch other members grow and train while he struggled to catch up. This feeling of impossibility was Brendan’s biggest motivator. In an interview with him, Brendan remembered this feeling and said that “everything seemed impossible, they were bigger than me, stronger than me, and seemed to have more time.”

However, Brendan’s start is a lot different than the progress he made since 10th grade. When he joined the crew team, he had zero experience, and learning how to train both physically and mentally was his biggest challenge during his initial immersion into crew. There was no one telling him specifically to work harder. The motivation was the fact that he was behind, and this point sparked his motivation to work even harder. Even though he did not need to improve, being on the team served as a constant reminder of competition, and he wanted to compete. After the last race, Brendan remembered saying, “I can’t stand not being able to win, if I’m going to show up every day, I need to work harder than my competition.”

His mom reflected on his first year of crew: “There was no indication of his seriousness to the sport, he never was into sports and I did not think this would change in high school.” After the first season of winter crew, Brendan’s mom thought, “There was a change in him, he started getting home later and more tired, and even though he struggled at practice he still made sure to keep his academics a top priority.”

Winter crew was always the most intense season, and the season when the new kids started. Being faced with kids significantly bigger than him, Brendan realized early on he needed to grow. That’s when the second part of his journey started. After this short season of winter crew, Brendan quickly signed up for a gym membership. Every day after school, and practice, which ended at 6:30, Brendan would drive to the gym and complete an hour and a half of intense weight training. This training would give him the edge he needed, and the strength he was lacking.

Now, one year later, the progress has paid off. Starting at a measly bench of 70 pounds, his effort in the gym has elevated him to a bench of 185 pounds. His erg scores have gone from below average to worthy of college recruitment.

In an interview with Coach McElroy, this progress was shown to be very clear. “I remember when he first joined, he looked just like everyone else. I did not think much of him and did not expect this level of growth. It is clear that he has dedicated a substantial amount of time to building his physical strength for crew.”

However, this effort does not just apply to his muscles, but also his brains. Talking to Brendan, he said, “The hardest part is balancing everything with school. I’m in four AP classes, so getting all my work done after 9 p.m. requires me to be dialed in all day.” In the beginning, it was only about crew, but after working hard for years, the lessons he has learned from intense training have transferred into his rigorous academic course load.

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About the Contributor
Josh Wagner
Josh Wagner, Staff Writer
Josh is a senior at SCH, and has attended since 10th grade. He rows on the crew team and can be found fishing and biking.
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  • C

    cormacNov 17, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    yay brendan

  • K

    Kate FitzGeraldNov 16, 2023 at 10:53 pm

    Phenomenal article Mr. Wagner! This Brendan character sounds like a great guy.