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Ever seen a super fit and athletic-looking person? That was me for 50 days. Well, 50 days minus a few, due to a slight snafu with my NCAA eligibility clearance. What prompted me to sign up for Novice Crew? I’m still not entirely sure. However, as soon as I got added to the Varsity Club email list (and got kicked out of practice due to said NCAA eligibility issues), I realized that I was actually somewhat legit. Since the Novice Crew season has come to a close, here are some of the things I learned during my time as a D1 athlete.

Physical activity is not fun. Don’t let them convince you otherwise.

Working out until I’m almost throwing up and passing out sounds so much fun! Said no one ever. There were several moments during practice when I seriously questioned why I was voluntarily there. And our workouts were objectively not difficult. Not to feed into anyone’s superiority complex, but I have a serious newfound respect for athletes — their mental and physical strength is off the charts.

In a sense, scooters are actually necessary.

Walking back and forth from the boathouse actually did eat up a decent amount of time. I can’t even imagine how long it would take to walk to the athletic complex in Allston every day. While I hate to admit it, scooters are a pretty practical item. I do still think we need to institute a scooter competency test to help people learn common decency traffic laws (I was once *almost* run over by a scooter, and I haven’t fully emotionally recovered).

Mixers are difficult to plan.

For the entire three-month season, we tried to plan a Novice Crew mixer. It never happened. For some reason, coordinating three hours of free time among four teams was too difficult a task for us NARPs. While I resent the *real* athletes for their weekly functions and colonization of Tasty Burger, honestly props to them for their organizational prowess.

Drama. Oooooo.

Sports are stressful. And just like sibling relationships, there is little to no way one can spend that much time with the same group of people without a little light drama. I would now like to take a moment to propose a Cheer-like reality TV show following Harvard athletes.

Most importantly, teams are fun! I loved all my teammates and looked forward to practice everyday. Harvard can certainly be overwhelming, but being on Novice Crew provided me with an incredibly supportive community as I transitioned into college life. While the Varsity Lifestyle wasn’t for me, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to cosplay as one of the greats for a couple of months.