Reflecting on a Memorable Weekend Journey: Rediscovering My Roots in Rowing

Reflecting on a Memorable Weekend at Brown University with my team of 30 years ago!

I embarked on a remarkable journey last weekend that took me back to the foundation of my success and shaped the person I am today. Join me as I delve into the treasured memories and experiences that have defined my life thus far.

Upon returning to Brown University, where I had a triumphant collegiate rowing career, I was filled with nostalgia and anticipation. Accompanied by my wife Erin, daughter Georgia, and sons Xeno, Christopher, and Reid, our journey began with witnessing the tail end of the commencement dance on Friday evening. Stepping foot on the College Hill campus was an out-of-body experience, instantly reconnecting me with former rowers and reigniting the camaraderie we once shared.

The following morning, my entire family gathered at the Brown University Boathouse, located next to the interstate. There, we reunited with the families of the 1993 undefeated varsity eight. Embracing each other with big bear hugs, we reminisced about the trials and triumphs of our rowing journey. To our delight, we were granted the opportunity to row together once again, reliving the synchronicity and grace that propelled us to victory three decades ago.

As our rowing shell glided up the Seekonk River, memories flooded back to us. With the Coxswain Brian Madden leading the way, our crew, consisting of Anthony Padula, Igor Boraska, Chris Sahs, Jamie Koven, David Fillipone, Paul Digiacomo, Gus Koven, and myself, settled into our rhythm. We showcased our technique and oarsemanship, eliciting a sense of pride from our family members observing from the coaching launch.

Following our rowing session, we gathered at Paul Digiacomo’s lovely home in Barrington, Rhode Island, for a heartwarming afternoon snack. Amidst laughter and conversation, we reminisced about our shared experiences and celebrated the achievements that brought us together. Our beloved coach, Steve Gladstone, joined us over the phone, expressing his warm regards.

Narragansett Boat Club My Second Home: For me, the Narragansett Boat Club held a special place in my heart. After my tenure at Brown University, I sought a place to train individually and discovered this cherished boathouse. Here, I forged lifelong friendships, including my best man, Dan Garriaran. To commemorate this visit, I had the honor of christening a single scull bearing my name, a poignant moment under the setting sun.

Throughout the weekend, my family and I enjoyed the charm of Providence, reveling in its historic buildings and culinary delights. We marveled at the transformation of College Hill over the years. Our adventures extended to Mystic, Connecticut, with its drawbridge, fishing town ambiance, and picturesque architecture. Escaping the crowds of Newport, we found solace in Bristol, Rhode Island, savoring a delightful dinner at Leo’s Ristorante.

On Sunday, we visited Gales Ferry, Connecticut, to meet with my former coach, Steve Gladstone, now leading the Yale men’s heavyweight crew. The camaraderie and shared experiences were heartwarming, as we connected on a deep level of pursuing excellence. Our journey continued to Plymouth, where we explored the historic Plymouth Rock and relished a lunch by its side, before concluding our trip with a flight back to the West Coast from Boston Logan.

My weekend journey was nothing short of extraordinary, as it allowed me to revisit my roots and the pivotal role Brown University and the rowing community played in my life. I am forever grateful for the coaching expertise of Steve Gladstone and Scott Roop, who molded me into the athlete I became. These experiences have shaped my character and instilled in me a pursuit of excellence that transcends rowing. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my past, as it sheds light on the person I am today.

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