Senior Spotlight: Brandon Roberts


I have never been particularly “athletic” or “good at sports”. I played baseball growing up because my parents wanted me to, but going into high school, I ultimately decided to retire my jersey and pickup my marching shoes. I spent the next couple of years proudly declaring “I’m not an athlete, I’m a band kid, I’m a theatre kid”. I had simultaneously developed an aversion to exercise and a love for all things greasy and salty. Needless to say, I had put on some weight and despite how unhealthy I was, I was having a blast. January 2013, I was a junior in high school, I had just taken my final bow as Clarence the Angel in my high school’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” in December, and I needed a change. A few of my friends from band approached me about a relatively new sport at my high school called “Rowing” and they said I might like it, so I decided to come out to the first practice.

Fast forward about 5 years and everything in my life has changed for the better. I lost just about 100 pounds, and this is the most fit I have ever been. I’ve travelled up and down the East Coast and well into the South and Midwest. Most of my best friends are from the rowing team. The only reason I have a place to live this year is because I made friends with a teammate who asked me to move in. I’ve competed overseas against crews who speak languages I don’t speak, and yet after the race, we each still yell out “good race!” in our own respective languages.

I can still remember coming into Saturday morning ladder practice and having to count out 21 ergs before I found my spot on the 22nd. What makes that memory sweeter is coming into Saturday morning ladder practice for the last month and not having to count ergs because my spot was the top one. I am beyond grateful for all the opportunities placed in front of me thanks to this team. Thank you to Coach B for teaching me, thank you to my teammates for pushing me, and thank you to my parents for supporting me. I wouldn’t be here without you.

The Grand Valley State University Rowing Club challenges its student-athletes to reach the highest level to which they aspire both academically and athletically, while continuing to build and sustain a nationally competitive intercollegiate rowing program.

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