New sport for a new stage in life
When the kids moved out, Brian White and his wife began to row.
—By John Canale
If you live near a river or a calm lake, you may have seen the long, sleek boats that cut through the water, shells helmed by athletes who make rowing in rhythm look peaceful and effortless.
If you live near the Great Miami River in downtown Dayton, Ohio, there’s a good chance Brian White ’87 will be one of those rowers gliding by.
“Rowing is like riding a bicycle,” said White, who earned his Case degree in electrical engineering. “The only difference is that we start riding bikes when we’re five years old. If you stick with rowing, it will become second nature, just like riding a bike, and you’ll have a lot of fun.”
White and his wife, Meg Evans — a 1986 graduate of the CWRU School of Law — picked up the sport later in life and fell in love with it. They have been rowing competitively now for nearly a decade.
Rowing takes them places beyond the Great Miami River. As members of the Greater Dayton Rowing Association (GDRA), the pair has competed in master’s level racing in Oakridge, Tennessee, Sarasota, Florida, and in Chicago and Philadelphia. Not bad for sailors late to the game.
As parents, White and Evans were involved in the sports activities of son Brand, now 32, and daughter Tara (Hux), now 30. When the kids finally packed up and moved out, the empty nesters found they had some time and freedom to focus on themselves. As a long-time runner, White wanted a hobby that challenged him physically, but one he could share with his wife.
“Our daughter was playing college soccer, and we had to figure out what to do when we wouldn’t be driving or flying to her games,” White said. “Rowing was intriguing to us because it was also something we could do together.”
In the spring of 2013, the couple took a Learn to Row course offered by the GDRA near their home in Vandalia, Ohio. While the class taught them to row in a single shell, the duo thought it might be better if they rowed in the same boat together.
“It offers up a little bit of teamwork,” White said. “You can talk to each other and you’re together. That’s what really hooked us.”
Today, White is director of that Learn to Row Program. He’s also a senior application developer for Stretto, a bankruptcy administration technology and services firm with offices in Dayton. He’s found that rowing is something he’s able to do outside of work, year-round. Unless you travel to warmer weather, the rowing season comes to a crashing halt each winter. But for many, the off season still means training and preparing.
“We work out on indoor rowing machines to stay in shape,” White said. “This year, we’ll be going down to Florida for a week to row, then we have a race on the last day. But for the most part, it’s about getting on the machine and challenging yourself throughout the winter months.”
Once spring comes, White and Evans will be prepared to again make the difficult look easy on the water — just like riding a bike.
John Canale is a freelance writer from Northeast Ohio.
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