Written by: Michaela Althouse
Photos by: Nick Matousch
When Temple’s men and women rowing programs were cut in December of 2013, there seemed to be no hope for crew team hopefuls. Two years later, members of the team are back with a vengeance as a school-sponsored sport, not only raising money for their own use, but also for a former teammate’s charity, Cycle4Awareness.
Temple men’s crew completed their second annual Erg-a-Thon alongside the bell tower on Monday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The team’s rowing machines were kept alive for the entire twelve hours, with each member taking a shift for an hour. Fellow supporters stood canning and various sponsors gave team members their donations. Temple cheer, band and Hooter the owl came in the early afternoon to get the team through the home stretch.
The monetary goal for this year was $15,000, which is three thousand more than last year. “…Anything over the goal, or $500 if we don’t make it, will goal to Mike’s charity,” head coach Brian Perkins says.
Mike Mirabella was a former Temple rower that passed away last year of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. His passing occurred on December 2 of last year, just a day before the team held its first Erg-A-Thon.
Mirabella was a former captain of the rowing team and an all-around beloved athlete. He “was a Temple rower, blood, sweat and tears,” says Rick Gross, Friends of Temple Rowing president. In support of his sister, who was diagnosed with autism, Mirabella started Cycle4Awareness with a few friends. The charity involved cycling long distances in order to raise money for autism research and others with special needs. Those who knew Mirabella agree that his work never stopped, and not only in rowing.
“He lived at the gym, but….if something needed to be done, he was gonna work it out,” Coach Perkins says. “He was a selfless athlete [and] an intense competitor, but he wouldn’t try to eat more pizza than you or get better grades, he would fight for you on the water.”
With a new boathouse on the way and Mirabella’s memory in their hearts, Temple rowing is ready to take on the season. The team fights hard and works harder, taking time out of their busy schedules in order to be a part of this activity. Even over winter break, before the team is officially allowed to practice, members are supposed to train and keep in shape.
“It takes a lot to be a Temple rower, they’re on the water by 6, off by 7:30 and they have to take a bus or drive back…They do it for the love of the sport,” Gross says.
Temple students and supporters will be right by their side as they continue to revive their team and move to the next level.