Thursday, June 3

Cal Coxswain Provides A Voice On And Off The Water

An inspirational rowing story is all I need to grab my attention. Jill Costello, the coxswain for the Cal women's team is battling stave IV lung cancer. This article from the San Francisco Chronicle has the details about her upbeat attitude, desire to compete with her team despite the illness, and her proactive approach to battling the disease. There is an interesting point in the article by John Crumpacker (that name can't be real can it?) about how lung cancer research does not get a lot of funding because it has the negative association with smokers. Costello and 25 percent of women are nonsmokers who have the disease.

Most people think coxswain's just sit at the front of the boat and yell "stroke". I cannot tell you how much this quaint explanation bothers rowers, let alone coxswains. As Costello's coach put it "A cox is part psychologist, part coach, part cheerleader, part drill sergeant. A good cox can have a positive effect. A cox is more of a cerebral athlete."

Best wishes to Costello and although this article came before Cal competed in the NCAA Rowing Championships and they came up short, the story is a great read. We always hear about a person's courageous battle with cancer, but Costello is an example of a person determined to make the battle count.

Full speed ahead for Cal cox [SFGate]

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