Dolphins Crew Celebrates 30th Anniversary
For 30 years, the Beach Channel Crew team has been a successful program. Even if it is the only school in the city to field a team, the Dolphins have fought through adversity and tough times to win matches and the heart of the community.
Last Monday, the Department of Education’s Region 5 and Beach Chan nel High School principal David Morris held a luncheon to honor the past and present crew memebers. Coun cilman Joseph Addabbo, members of PRYSE and representatives from Assemblywoman Audrey Phef fer’s office was also present.
They got to hear the courageous story of a team that has fought through 30 years of fighting for a place to train, raising funds for traveling and upkeep for the boats. Through it all, the experiences have strengthened the team determination to win many matches according to former coach Bill Stein, who was the first coach of the program in 1974.
Stein, who recently turned 60, said it was a great birthday present to be invited to a luncheon to honor the team.
"During our first season, one of the boats was hit by a driver and we didn’t have a trailer to carry it in", Stein said. "But we had a good time then and the team has come a long way since then".
Stein is also helping along with current head coach Chris Horn and the school to secure funds to build a new boathouse. The team currently uses an old World War II ammunition shack in Floyd Bennett Field that has no running water and is a half-mile walk to the water.
The school, along with Region 5 says they will step up the effort to keep the team on the water. "It’s a positive experience and we will take different avenues of fundraising to help them", says Councilman Joseph Addabbo.
But that has not stopped this team from winning regattas and proving to teams from Long Island, New Jersey and upstate New York that they can compete and win. Their character and determination has bonded this team.
Senior Gina Giles was excited to return to crew after not being on the team last year. After concentrating on just playing basketball, she miss ed being on the team and wanted to get back in the water and rejoin her teammates. "We’re a real family be cause of our teamwork and our discipline".
Nicole Pierce and Christina Rich are just two of the 28 boys and girls on the roster who are excited to get back on the water, even if it is 40 degrees as they practice. They love playing the role of the underdog and winning against schools that may take the Dolphins lightly and underestimate their chances to win.
"It makes it that much better we beat them", says Pierce. "Last year we went upstate to a rigatta without a boat and won". (The team won a bronze medal in the Boys Novice 4 regatta)
"I look forward to the workout. It’s a great sense of accomplishment and we feel good for ourselves", says Christina Rich. "It drives us to do better in school".
Chris Horn was very happy that his team was recognized for their accomplishments. Taking over in 1998, Horn had no previous experience coach ing crew. But as he grasped the intricacies of the sport, Horn’s love of crew is just as passionate as the players on his team.
"They got heart. Every kid on this team has it and it translates to their success. I only know one way to do this and it’s 100%".
Horn remains dedicated throughout all of the long hours from Feb ruary to May that it takes to coach the team.
"I love doing this job and today when we’re celebrating 30 years, this job is still amazing to me", Horn says. "It makes this school different. And it helps these kids and it’s something they remember for the rest of their lives".