Being a part of a team makes it even more special.
“I’ve played basketball, volleyball, soccer and field hockey, but this is so intricately dependent upon every single member of the team,” said Rosenbloom, whose family, that includes kids 14,12 and 7, moved to Catonsville from New Zealand about a year ago.
She hoped by joining the group she would meet more people, but has been rewarded in many other ways as well.
Nevertheless, challenges abound on the river, mainly because the wind doesn’t always cooperate.
They also have to negotiate through fishermen and crabbers crowding the docks. Even worse, were the blisters the women accumulated on their hands and fingers after the first few practice sessions.
“Every one has seen it on the Olympics, and they make it look so easy and beautiful. When they are out there, they realize it’s more of a team sport than any other sport I can think of,” said Mah, whose children are 7 and 8.
Getting out there also requires the women to lug 60-foot boats — often referred to as shells because their hulls are rarely more than a 1/4 of an inch deep — weighing 250 pounds down a ramp and into the water.
“That surprised everybody,” said Mah. “I don’t think they expected that the first time they saw those long boats. You don’t see that on the Olympics.”
“We are well-trained from lifting kids,” joked Miller, a mother of three kids.
Carrying the boat pales in comparison to rowing it in unison with each rower assigned to a single oar.
“It looks so easy, but it’s not. There are so many tiny variables that go into it,” said Miller, who has water skied, wind surfed and paddle boarded, but never rowed before. “Every little move that you make affects every little thing that goes on in the entire boat.”
“I like being part of a team and working together, and it’s kind of fun doing something new,” said Durst, who joined the squad after her youngest of three children started kindergarten.
Like Durst, Cummings wanted to try the sport, but was reluctant because of the busy mornings and evenings that conflicted with her three kids, ages 10, 7 and 5.
“We kept saying, ‘We can’t do it in the evening with kids and I wish there was something during the day when the kids were in school,’ and that is how it started,” said Cummings who is an athletic trainer. “It’s like a mini-vacation. You send the kids to school and you are back home before lunch to still do all your mommy things before the kids get home.”
There are no cell phones on the water and very little idle chit-chat. Focus is on the guidance of Mah, the crew’s coxswain and the only person on board facing the direction the shell is heading.
“It’s a very technical sport, so you have to focus on what you are doing,” Cummings said.
Even though some of the moms entered a 5,000-meter race in Occoquan, Va. in the fall, most of the crew seeks more personal benefits from their efforts.
“For us, this is one of the first things many of us have fully committed to in our motherhood that is about us,” Mah said. “There is a calming thing about it. It’s like getting therapy and exercise all in one.”