Feb. 24, 2014
MADISON, Wis. -- When Lake Mendota is frozen over during those long Wisconsin winters, the Badger rowing teams can get a little stir-crazy. They keep in top condition by spending time on their rowing machines, called ergometers. Erging can be a bit boring when it is all they can do from November to March, so the teams wanted to find a way to make their practice time more impactful, not only for themselves but also for the community at large. This led them to start an annual "Ergathon" called Crew for Kids.
This year's Crew for Kids event will take place on Sunday, March 2, from Noon-2:30 p.m. at Porter Boathouse. Student-athletes will complete meters on the ergometer with the goal of raising money for the American Family Children's Hospital. Members of all three rowing teams are working to collect donations and will be at the event to teach other student-athletes the basics of the rowing stroke, and to contribute meters of their own.
"Rowing is habitual, so we don't really realize how difficult it actually is because many of us have been doing it for years," Mackenzie Whiteside of women's lightweight rowing said. "It's fun to watch other people who are very skilled at their respective sports struggle with something we're used to. It brings athletes together."
In its second year, the event hopes to raise more than $3,000 for the American Family Children's Hospital by rowing 1 million meters. Last year, student-athletes rowed more than 675,000 meters and raised $2,500.
"We want to really bring everyone together to raise money for the kids because, as rowers, we are a large portion of the student-athletes, Whiteside said. "We've seen the impact other teams have had on the hospital and what a wonderful place it is, so we wanted to seize this opportunity for our teams to make a difference."
Fans can contribute to this effort by donating online at uwhealthkids.org/crewforkids. Any questions can be directed to UW Community Relations Assistant Catherine Kurtz at firstname.lastname@example.org.