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                                                                             Fall 2010

                THE CATCH
Club Sports / SA Chartered                                                                  Campus Recreation

2009-2010 Marked by Alumni                                                        Fall 2010
    Involvement, Medals
                                                                                 Fundraising efforts pick up
                                                                                 with Rent-A-Rower and the
                                                                                 McKenna 5k. Pg 2

                                                                                 A special message from
                                                                                 team President Nicole
                                                                                 Stadnicky. Pg 2

                                                                                 A profile of Coach Robert
                                                                                 Emerson. Pg 3

                                                                                  The team loses a founding
                                                                                  member. Pg 7

As the rented vans returned        Kallen even kept pace with the                 A check in with everyone's
from Dad Vails, Binghamton         current heavyweights for the                   favorite Sodexho employee.
rowers reflected on the            first 1,000 meters.                            Pg. 7
highlights of the season they
had just wrapped up. At the        After a typical winter getting
Head of the Fish, the men’s        reacquainted with library
lightweight boat placed third      towers and the erg room , the
while the woman’s lightweight      team returned to camp Bob
boat placed second. At the         Cooper for the first time in
Frostbite, the heavyweights        three years.                       Success at the Busfield set the tone for
(pictured above) won their heat.                                      the rest of the semester. The V-Women
                                  As usual, the squad dominated       came in second at the Metropolitan
For the first time in team        the Busfield, winning five golds    Regatta, the Men’s Lightweight Four
history, alumni boats competed in both women’s eight heats,           took home a silver at states, and the
at the Head of the Fish and the the women’s four, the men’s           Novice Men’s Eight made it to semi
Braxton Memorial regatta.         eight, and the men’s four. With     finals at Dad Vails – a sign of the
Alumni Mike Mohr, Michael         all these victories, the team won   promising future for the team.
Eichler, Joe Stigliano, and Bryan the first ever N.D Chen Cup for
                                  overall points.                                                                        Fall 2010

                        Strong Fundraising Tradition Lives On
Anyone who has rowed the             While skegs are relatively
waters of the Susquehanna river      inexpensive, those who have
knows that lining the riverbanks     been around “The Ultimate
are a plethora of beautiful trees,   Team Sport” long enough know
giving us rowers something to        it equally as well as the ultimate
look at between pieces.              wallet lightener. With new
(Certainly not in the middle of a    shells costing as much as a car,
piece!) Unfortunately for            oars at $300 per, and a host of
Binghamton Crew, the only            other expenses, rowing becomes
thing green that these trees         very expensive very quickly. We
produce are leaves, rather than      must resort to fundraising if we
money, which only grow on            are going to make the necessary
trees elsewhere. In fact, not only   purchases to compete with
do they not grow money, but          better-endowed rowing
these predators lurk beneath the     programs.
water surface, waiting to rip
skeg after skeg from our boat
hulls. This results in angry
                                     Rent a Rower is arguably our
coxswains, another repair we
                                     largest fundraising and
must ask Bill Butler to make, and
                                     community outreach program,
the unfortunate task of having to
purchase more skegs.

                         A Crew Story (Based on a True Story)
                                                          Why do we do it?

                                                          No matter how terrible it feels to wake up at 5:00 in
                                                          the morning after 5, 4, maybe even 3 hours of sleep,
                                                          no matter how much those towers make you drip
                                                          sweat, how terrifying it feels the moment just before
                                                          the “ready (pause) row!” before a race, or the itchy
                                                          feeling of a 2K cough--am I making myself clear
                                                          yet?-- there is a reason why we do it. It becomes an
                                                          addiction really. We love it, and everyone has a
                                                          different reason why. At University Fest in the
                                                          Quad every August, at our general interest
                                                          meetings, or Greg Reynolds’ (and the up-and-
                                                          coming Alex Storz’s) infamous tours around
                                                          campus and whenever/wherever we do our
                                                          recruitment, we all regurgitate different reasons
       The first heat of the triathlon sits
                     ready.                                Continued on Page 5

2                                                                          Fall 2010

        The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Emerson.
A lot of people think rowers are crazy. We wake up too
early, work out too hard, and usually have only
calluses to show for it. It’s not a sport for the weak of
heart – or body or mind, though I guess we could make
an exception for the coxswains.

Rowing is one of those sports that, if it gets you, it gets
you good. Bob Emerson knows what I mean.

“Once you’ve rowed,” he says, “you love it.”

Coach Emerson is someone who, at first glance, might
not seem like the rowing type. Short (under 6 feet) and
stocky (now, anyway) with thinning white hair, he
walks with a limp – the result of a run-in, literally, with
a gopher hole while he was in college. As a systems
engineering professor at Binghamton University you’re
more apt to see him in khakis and sweaters than
rowing gear.

Even though he’s been virtually unable to row for over
30 years (that gopher hole led to a ruptured disk and
eventually to a few fused vertebrae), he still dedicates
much of his busy life to the sport he loves because, as
he says, “there’s just something about being on the

Each fall and spring, for six days a week, the
Susquehanna River in Owego, New York, is his
“garden,” he says. He loves seeing the heron, the ducks       oarlock drilled to a nice piece of wood.
and especially the bald eagles. And, of course, the
rowing.                                                       “I was thrown out my sophomore year,” he
                                                              says matter-of-factly. “My first days coaching
Coaching rowers, he says, “is like a garden.”                 I saw kids thrown out, too. But,” he says with a
“Planting seeds, watching them grow -- it’s seeing            smile, “nobody died!” His occasionally
them succeed, or not succeed,” he says. “I like to see        sarcastic optimism is something Denise
[my rowers] go through that process.”                         Aquino, 2010 graduate, cites as one of her
                                                              favorite things about Emerson. “In bad
Emerson began rowing as an undergraduate at Purdue            situations,” she says, “he still finds positivity.”
University. After doing lots of sports in high school, he
says, he got to college and wondered, “What do I do           Because of his back injury, Emerson began
now?” cringing only slightly when he recalls the year:        coaching as a graduate student at Purdue after
1960.                                                         rowing there for only two years.

Surprisingly, many of his memories of rowing are              “I wanted to teach other people to row,” he
negative, he says, as he reaches over the stacks of           says. “The fun part of it was watching other
papers on his desk to grab a “trophy” his coach at            people get addicted [to the sport] and seeing
                                                              the ultimate in team efforts.”
Purdue gave him. It’s actually an old, mangled, metal
                                                                     Continued on Page 6

                                                                                                                3                                                                   Fall 2010

    Strong Fundraising Tradition Lives On (continued from
    page 2)

    netting us much-needed funds while helping out community
    residents with the mundane chores they’d rather not do themselves
    and raising general community awareness and interest in
    Binghamton Crew.

    Restaurant fundraising programs are one of the easiest ways for an
    organization to rake in funds. Last fall we had a successful
    fundraiser at Moe’s Southwest Grill, and anticipate one this spring
    with Tully’s Good Times. While the primary aim is to raise money
    for the team, these fundraisers prove to be a great way for the team
    to bond other than sharing in the pain of a 2K.

    2010 also marks the return of Inch by Inch. For this edition, we will
    attempting to purchase a boat to be named after N.D. Chen, a
    founder of Binghamton Crew who passed away last fall.

    We also offer our rowers a variety of ways to lower their
    contribution costs through personal fundraisers. These include
    selling our T Shirts, calendars, and Java Joe’s coffee, roasted here in
    Binghamton. We now offer a direct link from our website for
    convenient coffee sales at

    This past spring Binghamton Crew hosted the Fourth Annual John
    McKenna 5K, held in memory of former rower, Marine Captain                  Triathlon
    John J. McKenna, IV, who past in August 2006 in Iraq. From its
    inception, the 5K’s purpose was to honor John in a manner fitting to         Winners
    Binghamton Crew, and to purchase a heavy 4+ named after him.
    Two years ago we were able to purchase and make a down
    payment on the black McKenna shell. Funds from last year’s 5K
    were split towards finishing payment on the boat and a donation to        Patrick Schiefen 1:27.10
    the John McKenna Memorial Fund, which contributes to the Injured
    Marine Semper Fi and New York State Troopers Scholarship funds.           Asuanana Etuk 1:34.00
    Over 600 runners are anticipated at this year’s 5K, to be held on
                                                                                Arin Miller 1:54.43
    April 9th in Binghamton’s Recreation Park.

    If there is one thing to be learned from our journey on Binghamton
                                                                              Alexis Mazzeo 1:53.29
    Crew, it is that fundraising, while sometimes not always fun, as the
    first three letters seem to imply, it is a necessary endeavor if our
    club is to expand in size and competitiveness. But more
    importantly the most important “fundraiser” of this team is the
    priceless experiences we have in the boathouse, in the pouring rain
    at Mets, or even in the last 1500 meters of a 6K that make it all

4                                                                          Fall 2010

 A Crew Story (Based on a True Story)

why crew at BU is the best. “You’ll be in the best
shape of your life, you’ll make life-long friends, it
looks good on a resume!” The list goes on.

For the longest time, my favorite part of it all was
filling up the tables at Dickinson Dining Hall, and
eating breakfast with the rest of my crew after a
hard practice. Sure, kicking out the sororities on
basket day is always entertaining. (As Clarissa put
it so well last year, “sorry girls, but the crew team
has these tables reserved.”) And of course Ruthie’s
smile and her cheery “well, good morning dear”
will brighten anyone’s day. However, is that really
why I do crew? Sometimes I think it is the reason I
stay on crew. But what is the real reason? I could
still get my helping of pancakes, eggs, and bacon
from Ruthie even if I was not wearing a boathouse
jacket. So, why do crew?

Late last fall one of our rowers decided he was
going to study abroad in Israel. He made all the
arrangements and did all the planning, went
through the difficult task of finding someone to
sublet his room, etc. He left. He left the country,
and he left his team. And three weeks in, he wanted
to come back. I thought he was screwed; it was
already too late to register for classes at
Binghamton, and if he left the program he would
have to withdraw his credits, and would have
wasted everything. Well, he left his study abroad
program anyway. But he did it a little differently
than you might have expected. You see, he refused

his refund. In doing this, he could remain registered with the program and keep his enrollment status with the
university. Why did he do it? “It was for crew.”
So, why do crew? Because I love it. Sure, I cannot always explain why, but when I hear stories like this, it is
clear to me. In my life, I have never known a more dedicated group of individuals who love something so
much and who are willing to work so hard for each other. What an unbelievable feeling it is when you drive
across that slide, the oar handle pounding into your chest. Your palms are burning and every part of your
body is in pain. You cross the finish line and you are empty because you put everything you had into those
few minutes on the water. Why? What for? Did you win? Maybe. Maybe not. So why did you do it?
Commitment. For everyone else in your boat because they wanted it just as badly as you did, and you never
give up on friends like that, so you give it everything you’ve got—even that refund check.

                                                                                                                  5                                                                              Fall 2010

 His office walls, under the Mountainview
 campus-dining hall where he is a faculty
 master, are practically covered with artwork
 and photos, many of them rowing-themed.

 The largest and most colorful piece, though, is a
 painting of potted flowers by his 9-year-old
 adopted daughter, Sian. It’s a bright spot in an
 otherwise gray and wood-grained office.

 Sian’s biological mother, says Emerson, was
 addicted to drugs and alcohol. So, he says, “for
 the first two to three years of Sian’s life she was
 in withdrawal, and we stayed up with her
 every night.”

 Emerson and his wife, Bonnie, have five
 biological and two adopted children. They have
 housed between 25 and 30 foster children.
 Emerson’s energy is especially impressive given his age, 67. But, he says, retirement, from teaching or
 coaching, doesn’t appeal to him.

 “I love what I’m doing,” he says. “You have to want to go to work and you’ll never want to retire.”

 As he tells of being asked by the BU Crew women’s squad in 1994 to volunteer as a coach, it’s evident how
 proud he was of his first squad of girls.

  “I asked them, ‘what kind of coaching do you want?’ And they said, ‘We’re tired of losing,” he recalls.
 “So, we started.”

 Changing the squad from a more social to a more competitive group is something Emerson is very proud
 of, too, he says.

 “The first week, they rowed more than they had ever (rowed) in a season,” he says. Rowing, he adds,
 “really is a measure of your heart.”

  “It would be fun to have eight big girls with heart,” he says jokingly, knowing that, at a public university
 and in an area with a small rowing community, that’s very unlikely.

 “I’ll take the heart first,” he says. “It’s a question of doing that first 500 meters and doing it again … and

 Even as Coach Emerson holds high expectations for his rowers, his girls are quick to point out his sense of
 humor and funny mannerisms.

 Denise quips, “He has a lot of good thoughts. He just forgets them.”

 Even he laughs when asked why he got a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service.

 “Oh hell, I don’t know!” he says. “I just get to wear a big medal at graduation.”
 Here’s to another 67 years, Coach.                                                                    Fall 2010

                         Team Mourns Fallen Founder
 This year we experienced a loss very dear to us. Andy Chen, the founder of the Binghamton Crew team,
 passed away in early November from cancer at the age of 42. He is remembered fondly by many of his
 teammates as being a man of ideas, whose fierce
 determination and passion drove the team into
 existence. He was a friend to many, and inspired
 those around him to their fullest potential. Andy
 turned crew, although just a club sport, into a
 student group that was too important for this
 Binghamton University to ignore and everyday on
 the water we appreciate his dedication to his beliefs
 and ideas. Even after college Andy's disposition
 never wavered and he found ulfillment and success
 in a career as an attorney, offering his time and
 experience through charity and pro-bono work.

 Andy will be remembered always by his friends
 and family as a man who truly loved life. To honor
 him, the Binghamton Crew team is doing two
 things. First we have created a cup race at the
 Busfield regatta in his name. Every year it will be
 awarded to the team who wins the most races. Secondly, we are purchasing a brand new 8 boat to be
 named after Andy.

 Crew’s Biggest Fan Isn’t on Sideline, but on Hot Food Line
 In the 22 years that Binghamton Crew has changed from being a small batch of college
 kids who made docks out of oil barrel cans to a well established rowing club that
 competes on a national level, one thing remains constant.

 Behind the counter at Dickinson dining hall, you'll find something much better than
 the most delicious french toast sticks or the biggest chocolate chip pancakes. A small
 woman with a smile and a spatula who goes by the name of Ruthie is truly a staple in
 this crew team's history.

 Since 1985, Ruthie has been working for Sodexho at Dickinson dining hall. Although
 the crew team wasn't established until 1988, she notes, "I can't even remember a
 morning without the crew team... Every morning between 7:30 and 8 I look forward to
 you guys coming and think 'oh, here they come.'" No matter how hard practice was
 that day, you can never hold back a smile from Ruthie's warm "Good morning! Good
 morning!" greeting.

 In recent years she has escalated to the status of having a Facebook group dedicated to
 her - not even Lois B. DeFleur can match that. To this day, Ruthie still remains our
 biggest fan. Even during winter training, she provides all the warmth in the world. "I
 try to save you guys some of the pancakes - cause you know, you guys work so hard -
 but yeah, they won't let me... I love you all."


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