Following the first snowfall of the year, Andover Crew gathered on the steps of Cochran Chapel at 6:00 a.m. on Monday for their annual snow shoveling tradition.
Head Coach Dale Hurley wrote in an email to the team, “Our friends at O.P.P. will be here early in the morning clearing the streets, parking lots, and walkways. In order for them to get it all done they could really use our help.”
The team specifically shovels areas which O.P.P. cannot clear with snow plows.
“The only way to remove snow from stairs is to manually shovel – this is where we have helped and will help again tomorrow,” Hurley continued.
Girls Crew Co-Captain Evelyn Mesler ’17 said, “For the crew team, it’s been tradition for every year that I’ve been on the team… It’s a good workout, and [the workout] definitely promotes team morale. It’s just a way of helping out and giving back.”
According to Boys Crew Captain Luke Bitler ’17, around 10-12 members of the team began shoveling the Chapel steps as soon as boarders were allowed to leave their dorms in the morning. Following the Chapel, the team made their way around campus, shoveling the steps of the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Vista, George Washington Hall, the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library, Samuel Phillips Hall, Paresky Commons, Susie’s, and finishing at the Borden Gym after an hour.
“Shoveling has been a long-standing tradition that the crew team does every year. The reason we do it is to show our gratitude to the school and O.P.P. and the hard work they do for us everyday. I think the team understands that and is held as an important value that we share,” said Bitler.
Remus Sottile ’19 described how shoveling in the winter promotes team bonding, especially helping new members acquaint themselves with upperclassmen on the team.
“I volunteered because I felt that it would give me a chance to bond with some of my teammates which is something I always prioritize. How close I am with my teammates has a lot to do with how well we’ll row together in the spring which then determines whether we’ll win races or not,” said Sottile in an email to The Phillipian.
Girls Crew Co-Captain Elizabeth Irvin ’17 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “I’ve been shoveling snow with the crew team since my [Junior] year… it was a great way to get to know upperclassman on the team.”
“I think it’s just nice to wake up early, hang out with my teammates for a bit and spent sometime outside, and then go through the rest of my day knowing that I did something nice for the campus,” Irvin continued.
Irvin says the tradition of team shoveling helps build team spirit and cohesiveness, especially outside of winter training and in preparation for the competitive interscholastic spring season. It also provides an additional workout for rowers and coxswains who participate in winter crew training.
“It’s the kind of thing that works really well for a crew team, because our sport is all about putting ourselves one the line and making ourselves uncomfortable for the benefit of the boat and the team. When I see my teammates at the chapel steps at 6:00 a.m. and it’s freezing cold but they showed up anyways, I know I can count on them and a lot of trust is built in that moment,” Irvin concluded.