As a captain of approximately fifty rowers across all grades, Andover Boys Crew Co-Captain Holt Bitler ’21 has the difficult job of fostering a team community. Nevertheless, he strives to form relationships between older and younger rowers to help the younger rowers settle in.
“Generally, a big thing is making sure the upperclassmen who already know each other are reaching out to all the younger kids, making sure that they feel comfortable in the team because it’s a new environment and everything. Helping lead the older kids into that — you see someone picking up oars or something instead of going to talk to some of the other kids after practice, you can just go and help them… That was one of the greatest things about the community — it was all the upperclassmen actually reaching out to the younger kids, making them feel at home. That was what got me into the sport—I just love the community, so I just want to help keep that going,” said Bitler.
Although he encourages rowers to manage their time deliberately because crew is a large time commitment, Bitler believes that the amount of time the team spends together makes it easier to forge connections.
“A good part of the time commitment is the bus ride there and back, and that’s when you actually start to connect with a lot of the kids, where you’re just sitting next to someone. This year, you can only sit next to the person who’s on your pod on the team, but there’s other people sitting around you, that everyone starts talking in general on this bus, and it’s a great way for people to connect… It’s usually a 20-minute bus ride, so that’s 40 minutes of sitting next to people and talking to them each day. It really makes for a good community. So I’d say that’s one of the bigger factors of why we’re so close-knit,” said Bitler.
According to Trevor Moss ’23, Bitler is someone that is always open to questions, and he has been a friendly and helpful captain from day one.
Moss said, “After the first day on the water, he was the first person I talked to. I talked to him the whole way on the bus ride back. I asked him about the rowing program and just got to know him a bit better. He’s very friendly and he’s definitely really knowledgeable about the crew program here as well.”
Bitler hopes to be an inspiration for his teammates by staying positive even in difficult times.
“Honestly, I hope to inspire them just by maintaining a really positive attitude throughout the season. A lot of crew is about attitude, and it’s about having a positive mindset throughout. I’ll have tough days, but I think it’s important that I still keep a positive mindset whenever I’m there, because I know that there’s eyes watching and I want to make sure that I’m being a good leader. I want to make sure that I’m being a good role model for the team,“ said Bitler.