Monday, March 29, 2010

In Memory of Dave Baugh

A few times I've sat down to write something about Dave, but it has been hard to start. So, I'll just start.

Dave Baugh was my first rowing coach at Green Lake. He taught me what it meant to be a coxswain, a teammate and a good competitor. When I showed up at Green Lake in 8th grade, I had no idea what a rowing shell was or what I would be doing as a coxswain. All I knew is that I had to be loud and small. Over the next five years, I learned everything I could about rowing and coxing from Dave. A coxswain's role in the boat is to be the eyes and ears of the crew, and to relay that information to your team and get them to push even harder than they think is possible. Even when you're behind, you still have to make your team believe that they can pull together to win. He taught all of us to never, EVER give up. Dave also taught me the value in learning how to steer a straight line. It doesn't matter if you've got the best crew team out on the water, if your coxswain can't get you across the finish line first- you're out of luck.

I will always remember my senior year and having Dave come to me to tell me that he couldn't decide between me and another coxswain. I had been the Varsity coxswain the year before and had a great boat. That was the year I had gone to Costa Rica for the summer to volunteer and they had gone to Nationals without me. They won that year- they were amazing. The following year was tough. We had some girls graduate and not return and some of the magic from the year before was gone. It was Spring season and the boat was trying to figure out the best lineup. That included my seat. No one was safe. I remember Dave coming to tell me that he would let the girls decide, since he couldn't decide on who would be best for the boat. Both coxswains had our pluses and minuses. I remember him saying to me "I wish I could just nail the two of you together." That is what sticks with me most about Dave. Whereas any other rowing coach would make a decision and not talk to you about it- saying "This is the lineup" and leave it at that. Dave genuinely cared about each of us and we cared about him.

Graduation from high school led me to the University of Washington where I started out on the Men's Freshmen team. A few weeks later, I had been moved to the Men's Varsity team. They were short on experienced coxswains and I was up for the job. It was intimidating, terrifying and overwhelming. But, I had faith that I could do this job that I had practiced the last 5 years for. I knew I could be tough even though I was intimidated. And, most importantly- I could steer a straight line.

Four years at the University of Washington and I returned to my old haunts- Green Lake. I coached Novice Girls rowing for three years. Every now and then I would see Dave and he would always have the same laugh, the same smile and ask me how I was doing. There are so many good memories that I have from the various crews I have been on and kids I have coached. I would never give up my experiences with Green Lake and the University of Washington crew teams and they have shaped me in the person I have become. Dave was instrumental in shaping my career as a coxswain and a coach and I will always be thankful for that. I don't know what my high school and college life would have been like had I had another rowing coach. For that, I am eternally grateful to have known Dave, and he will be truly missed.

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