The following is a letter a McLean High School parent sent to officials at Virginia High School League regarding VHSL's decision in December to eliminate crew from its list of sanctioned high school sports. Read more about the VHSL decision and how local crew team parents are reacting here.
Dear Ms. Bickley,
We are writing to ask you to please reconsider removing rowing from the list of VHSL sports because it is such a wonderful sport for girls and women. Our daughter Amanda, now a sophomore at McLean High School, started rowing last year as a freshman early in the fall semester. She had never been much of an athlete, having stopped playing soccer in the fifth grade, and we never expected her to be attracted to any sport again.
She, like many of the other girls on her team at McLean, was instantly smitten by rowing and took enormous pride and joy in the hard workouts and long hours required for the sport. As she grew stronger, she discovered physical and emotional stamina and strength as well as muscles she didn't know she had. Her self-esteem improved dramatically and, rather than being ashamed of her body as so many girls her age are, Amanda became proud of her body. This from a girl who would never have taken part in another sport! As her parents, we have been thrilled by what crew has done for our daughter.
We hope Amanda will be able to continue competing in crew for McLean. She has spoken many times, as have her friends, of rowing in college and later in life. She and her friends even speak about the large number of the most elite colleges in the nation, including the Ivy League schools, that recruit girls from the crew at McLean and the other high schools in Virginia to row for them, and offer scholarships for female rowers.
Please reconsider your decision and maintain crew as a VHSL sport. It is doing so much for our daughter and so many other girls around Virginia.
Patrick J. McCormick