by Ruby Lyon, Marketing & Communications Manager
This Veterans Day I set out to highlight why rowing lends itself well to service members. The sport replicates a familiar activity for veterans; it demands individuals to work together, form a bond, and support one another to ultimately move the boat forward. I could write a whole blog on just this topic (because it’s a good one!). However, the overwhelming praise and gratitude pouring out for one man in particular, could not be ignored today.
“The first time I rowed behind him, I assumed he had been rowing for years.” – Coach Lizzie Simons
Ricardo Charriez, a proud member of the Inwood community and an Army veteran, first walked down the dock leading up to a floating boathouse in Washington Heights in the spring of 2016. He had made his mind up to try something new–which involved taking an introductory rowing class.
It’s fair to say we had him hooked after that fateful day. In rapid succession, Ricardo locked in a Learn-to-Row 2 course, followed by joining the Recreational Masters team, and ultimately becoming a Competitive Masters rower–all in under a year.
What’s truly remarkable about Ricardo isn’t just his natural ability as a rower–but his dedication to the team, self-improvement, and his community. Row New York’s coaches had nothing but love when asked about him:
“I can not say enough good things about Ricardo. He’s a Row New York Learn-to-Row graduate who worked his way up to competing and racing for the 2017 season. It’s been a year of firsts, from races, to flips, to erg tests. He is a consummate team player who continually puts the needs of the team above his own. I’ve watched him treat everything as a learning opportunity, even if that means he’s riding in the launch for the practice. He’s always positive and constructive, and clearly just happy to be out on the water, which is infectious. We got lucky when Ricardo decided to take up rowing.” – Coach Claudia Loeber, Competitive Masters Head Coach
“Ricardo comes to every practice 100% focused and looking to improve. What’s more, he regularly gave that energy to the team by helping with Learn to Row events and mentoring new rowers during his time with the Recreational Masters.” – Coach Mel Abler
“Ricardo is the ultimate team player–we’re so lucky to have him as part of the Row New York community. He’s there early to help bring oars out for practice and always has something to contribute to the boat both on and off the water. His positive, learning-oriented attitude is so contagious he makes every day on and off the water brighter for coaches and teammates alike.” – Coach Raphi Tayvah
With an outpour of gratitude, it feels more like Thanksgiving than Veterans Day. But it’s undeniable that Ricardo’s incredible character is also intertwined with his years served in the military.
We’re proud that Ricardo chose Row New York. More than ever, we are dedicated to continuing to be a place where veterans can find their new passion and team.
Thank you to all of our service members who put the needs of the team above their own.