Fairfield rowers tally 1,000,000 meters at charity event.
Just mentioning the number one million can be quite impressive, if not overwhelming, but the Fairfield University rowing program did not shy away from it when the student-athletes began to plan an Erg-A-Thon to help raise money for charity. In fact, the men’s and women’s teams embraced the idea.
“The one stand out feature for me with regards to this event was that it was totally team driven from the decision to do it, the charity selected and the operation of the event,” said Director of Rowing David Patterson. “My only involvement was to contribute some meters to help them along the way. The team was totally accountable for this success and it is my hope that on review of their success they will bring the same level of accountability to their training as we approach the racing season.”
Patterson’s contribution certainly was appreciated especially with a goal of putting one million meters on the board. Yet every member who was available took their place in the seat and rowed with enthusiasm and pride.
“A million meters is a standard distance for a team Erg-A-Thon,” Patterson said. “It can take between 8 and 10 hours to reach the distance pending the number of ergs in operation and number of athletes on the team.”
The event featured student-athletes from the rowing programs posting meters on an erg machine, an indoor training device that simulates rowing.
While the entire team was involved in the Erg-A-Thon, senior Nolan Campbell and junior Matt Marshall not only took their turn on the ergs but also took the lead in planning and implementing the event.
“These past few weeks have really been a whirlwind organizing the event with Matt, but it all proved to be worth it — having the opportunity to meet Al from Al’s Angels and hearing about the children’s lives which we impacted this Christmas season,” Campbell said. “I am so proud of the hard work both teams put in to make this such a success.”
Al’s Angels was founded in 2004 by Al DiGuido for the purpose of providing moments of joy and comfort to families that are challenged by childhood cancer, rare blood diseases, AIDS, domestic violence and financial hardship. Through hard work, an amazing group of volunteers, and tremendous generosity, today Al’s Angels is able to help thousands of children in the tri-state area.
“Getting to work with Al and Al’s Angels has been absolutely amazing,” Marshall said. “When Nolan and I heard directly from Al where all of our donations were going, it really helped us realize how lucky and fortunate we are, especially during the holiday season. To have almost every single rower, coxswain, and coach from both teams donate at least one hour of their time to row meters or raise money, was incredible.”
While the rowers and coaches were the ones who accounted for the million meters, it was the students and the University community who lent the financial support through pledges and donations.
“We’d like to say a special thank you to all of those who donated and helped us raise more than $2,100,” Marshall said. “None of this would have been possible without all of the support from our extended school community.”
And while Campbell and Nolan were thankful for their teammates and the University community, DiGuido was touched by the commitment and dedication of the Fairfield rowing teams to support the generous work that his organization puts forth throughout the year.
“It was amazing to be surrounded by so many great athletes from the Fairfield Rowing Team who spent a good deal of time creating and executing the 1 Million Meter Challenge on campus,” DiGuido said. “There was great commitment and spirit among all the student athletes. I am incredibly humbled and honored that the team made Al's Angels the recipient of this incredible event. We are all called by God to be a light in the world. The Fairfield rowing teams and all those who supported this effort are incredible lights to our special children and families in need.”
It was the children and families who will benefit from Al’s Angels that inspired the men and women that comprise the Fairfield University rowing program. And it was that chance to make a difference in the lives of so many that inspired them to row those million meters.
“The Erg-A-Thon reminded me how blessed we all are to be a part of this community during the holidays,” Campbell said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what the rowing team has up their sleeve for next semester.”
While they may not have a million choices, whatever the team has up their collective sleeve will certainly touch and help those in need—just one of many ways Fairfield student-athletes embrace the Jesuit values so distinctly brought forth on the Fairfield University campus each and every day.