I’ve been thinking about the events of this past Monday a good amount. It occupies my thoughts a bit more than I would like it to, and to be quite frank, it scares the shit out of me.

What would have happened if I hadn’t crashed crew practice last Thursday and seen Sarah at breakfast? What if I hadn’t asked if she was okay? What if I hadn’t answered her Facebook messages or invited her over to watch The Walking Dead?

What if she hadn’t told me she had taken all those sleeping pills?

She would have died on my living room floor.

I’m trying my hardest to keep a level head, but my heart burns with anger when I think about what happened to Sarah.

I blame the women’s crew team.

Crew is a sport that requires each person to be in tune with his or her teammates. It’s no surprise that my boat and I were always together, even after we quit. You have to feel each other’s movements, keep in time with one another, and know what will motivate everyone to push hard to get across the finish line. There’s a special bond that is made among the rowers of a racing shell.

It’s very apparent when one person doesn’t fit. In most cases, he or she is pushed out of the boat regardless of skill level. Last season I had one cocky bastard play with the zen of my boat. Instead of drowning his ass in the Baltimore harbor, I took him to breakfast, shot the shit with him, and fed his under-aged ass a fuckton of booze. Bonds were made, oaths of fealty uttered, and our ancestors were surely proud of us. There’s a reason why the campus refers to us as a cult.

The women’s boats were a different fucking story. They were clique-y. They didn’t help their struggling boatmates improve. They ostracized the less-skilled at team family breakfast. Even my coach expressed her concern to me after she blew up on my ass and pretty much called me a misogynist.

I had two from the women’s boats come to me for help after they replaced a couple of my flu-ridden water beasts for a practice. They said they felt part of the team, like people enjoyed their company. They sat with me and the men’s boats at breakfast after that.

Sarah was one of the two girls who expressed their gratitude that day.

Now I can’t blame the women’s side of the team for what happened to Sarah entirely, but I think if they had given two shits about her, they would have fucking noticed something was up. How the hell did I, someone who had minimal contact with her and had quit the team this season, notice she was struggling?

They didn’t notice because they didn’t care. 

They should have been looking out for her. They should have at least talked to her for a little while so she didn’t feel so god damned alone. Fuck everyone on that shitty, godforsaken team that turned a blind eye to someone so kind and caring. Shame on them.

A few people have asked me why I left the team.

This is my reason.

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