Class Year: 2021
Hometown: Bedford, NY
High School: TASIS, The American School In England
Born in Westchester New York, I started my life as a farm boy. Living on a farm taught me many valuable life lessons, most importantly the importance of a good work ethic. Sports and the outdoors have always been my two favorite past times. At the age of five, I started my journey by joining my local soccer team. Soccer was the first time I got a taste of real competition. After that it was never the same, I needed to win at everything. At the age of eight I found my first passion in life, lacrosse. It was one of those things where I would lose focus in class because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Unfortunately my athleticism ultimately got the best of me… I storm down the lacrosse field, maneuvering around defenders like a river around boulders. A wall of them stand to block me, but I break through, my armor deflecting their blows. A window opens, and I weave once more before charging for the final shot. The world seems to slow… I twist my body and snap the ball into the goal.
* * *
Lights blazed. High-pitched beeping sounded for an eternity. I slowly opened my eyes to see doctors and my family crowded around. A couple of them gasped, and looks of worry turned to smiles, tears, and happy cries. My parents told me that, while attempting a trick at the end of an easy run, I had slammed my head into a metal ski rack at roughly thirty miles an hour. My eyes had rolled back into my head, and my entire body had convulsed. There was an inch-deep dent in my ski helmet, and it had looked like I wasn’t breathing. I had lain motionless and unable to move long after the paramedics arrived. Luckily, I am not a vegetable, but I did suffer two grade three concussions. The doctors said I was extremely lucky to be alive. But they also warned me. If I jostled my brain again, it could have devastating consequences. My life as a lacrosse player was over. For weeks, getting back on the field was the only thing on my mind. Sitting on the sidelines that spring was agony. I missed the feeling of belonging and the exhilaration of scoring. I had tragically lost a passion that had made me happiest. The following summer we visited my grandparents in Italy. On an afternoon walk with my grandfather, we passed a rowing club and saw crews paddling on a lagoon. My interest was piqued. I signed up for a learn-to-row program. The first day, my cousin and I went out on the water in a double scull. We struggled to control the boat, but it didn’t matter. It was strenuous, challenging, and exhilarating. Most importantly, I couldn’t hurt my head. That fall I joined the Greenwich Water Club and committed myself to rowing. The sport requires consistency and precise technique. It took me months of daily practice to develop the muscle memory I needed. Over the course of four years, I have trained and competed in three countries at five independent clubs. Six days a week I practiced, gaining strength and rigor. We competed. We won. The boats got bigger. The teams more competitive. Each time I step into my seat, I become one with the boat and my fellow oarsmen. When the starting shot sounds, we pull as one force, and surge forward with incredible acceleration. Oars whip out of the water in unison, then dip again with rhythmic power. When the current pushes against us and the waves come crashing in, we do not stop—we push harder. When other boats pass, we do not lose faith—we push harder. Late in the race, when the pain reaches every molecule in our bodies, we do not stop—we push harder. And even when another crew crosses the finish line ahead, we do not let up until the race is over. An accident changed my life. That loss closed a door, but a chance encounter opened a new one. This experience taught me resilience, learning from life’s challenges and moving on. Intensely pursuing rowing has demanded balance: giving enough time to my school work, my sport and my social life. Teamwork, collaborating with others to overcome any obstacle, has framed and filled my high school career. Through rowing, I developed persistence to push myself to get the better grade, lead a group to accomplish a goal, and seek help when I’m struggling. When we are in the boat, we face backwards but push forwards. As in life, we cannot see what the future holds. Today I proudly row for the Bucknell Men’s Crew team. Rowing with the team thus far has been everything I could have ever hoped for. Already I feel as though my fellow teammates are my brothers. I look forward to the my next few years at Bucknell as a student athlete.