GAME ON: From RI to the NCAA - Erich Schultze
Saturday, April 02, 2011
Moses Brown School
How was the transition from being a high school athlete to becoming an athlete in college?
For me, the biggest transition in going to college was switching from rowing the single scull, which is a very individual sport, to rowing in an eight-man boat. Since Moses Brown didn't have a rowing team, my high school athletics experience was very much solo: I often trained alone, made adjustments on my own, and, ultimately, was the only one I relied on when I was on the start line. When I got to college, I was immediately in a team setting, and all of a sudden relied on 7 other guys in my training and racing. It was a tough transition to make, but I am fortunate to be on a team full of athletes that I respect and trust. I can say without question that training in the competitive atmosphere of the Harvard boathouse has made me a much better athlete.
The first thing that comes to mind is how much I miss Narragansett Boat Club, where I trained in high school. That boathouse definitely feels like a second home, and it was around some pretty special people and coaches there that I carved out my identity. The other thing that I also really miss, to a certain extent, is the "grittiness" of my high school athletics experience. There was something endearing to me about training alone in the basement of the field house in the winter, or walking up the creaky stairs of the boathouse, or spending hours reading through and perfecting my training plans. Now that I am in college, the level of support is much higher. I have a coach and team that make the process of training and racing much easier, and this has helped me progress to a new athletic level. But I think at heart, I will always consider myself that kid from the small boathouse who is training against guys from bigger and faster programs.
What is your biggest challenge as a college athlete?
My biggest challenge has been managing expectations that I feel from others and that I hold for myself. I have really had to learn how to focus on one task at a time, and just focus on doing every race, test, and workout with intensity. It doesn't help anything to look too far ahead, and it certainly doesn't help to dwell on any result that has already happened. Keeping the "horse blinders" on like this is much more important than I could have imagined.
My sport has been super good to me. I have met great people, gotten to travel to places like Belarus and China, and get to be a part of an incredible university. But when it comes down to it, I think the thing that rowing gives me on a daily basis is an opportunity to prove myself. I love that in this sport, no matter how good or bad you have been in the past, you still have the opportunity to show up at the boathouse every day and perform at your personal best. No matter how tough a certain loss can be, there's always another workout around the corner.
Crew Image Courtesy of Havard Crew Team
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