With the body image of adolescents across America crumbling, one place teen girls in the Mid-Ohio Valley should not look for a boost of confidence is the Ohio Valley Rowing Club (OVRC).
In recent weeks the fall crew season has commenced and several aspiring rowers have shown an interest in learning more about the sport. However, the club is only looking for one type of female: Thin.
My own 15-year-old sister returned from practice earlier this week with an uneasy expression on her face and pain in her eyes. As unbelievable as it may sound, her coach, John Apgar of the OVRC, sat her and two other young women down for a talk. When she repeated back to me the conversation, I couldn't believe my ears. "Now ladies, exercise isn't enough. You are too overweight to be a rower." Too overweight? To row for a club? A sport I am paying to be a part of? Hardly. Coach Apgar should be jumping for joy to have eager women wanting to join the rowing team, but instead he is discouraging ones who don't fit the profile.
If you are a youngster looking to join a sport with encouraging coaches and high morale, you won't find it here. In the future, my hopes are for Coach Apgar to understand the concept of heavyweight rowing. One hundred thirty pounds is a not-so-hefty weight but an unrealistic one for some body types. Perhaps we can take a moment to celebrate the initiative those three high school girls had to invest time and energy in becoming more fit instead of tearing them down because they were dubbed "too fat to row."