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Adaptive Volunteering

Friday, August 07, 2009


Courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications
Photo courtesy of Mark Thirman

BOSTON, Mass. -- Harvard football players took to the river last weekend with a volunteer effort in conjunction with AccesSportAmerica, a national non-profit organization that inspires higher function and fitness for children and adults living with disabilities through high-challenge sports.

"Carl Ehrlich and his team were just incredible," said Barbara Tellalian, Director of Development for AccesSportAmerica. "They exemplified the very best of sportsmanship, leadership, athleticism, personality, warmth and humor- they each made everyone's day especially our AccesSportAmerica Athletes."

Competing in the "Mayor's Cup," the seven-member team representing Harvard football won its Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Race which started at the Arthur Fielder Footbridge near the Hatch Shell. Skippered by Carl Ehrlich, the 2009 football captain, Harvard football competed in the "Best Time" race. The team paddled down river faster than the Boston Business Journal and Team Red Sox with a time of 6:39.

"A lot of people were coming up to us and telling us how other college football teams that raced in the past were ?????????too heavy,' or ?????????thought they could just muscle the boat,' and they were definitely skeptical of how we would do," joked Ehrlich after the race. "With instructor Miles McDonald and between the form and timing of the stroke, what the regatta really came down to was discipline. In that regard, the race played right into our hands. I also may have given a pretty serious pep talk beforehand..."

Team members were comprised of Mike Lawler, Ramsey Lafayette, Matt Luft, Mike Cook, Anthony Rotio, Ryan Burkhead and Ehrlich. The team was joined by AccessSportAmerica's Alex McDonald while instructor Miles McDonald assisted in the efforts. All his usual joking aside, Ehrlich was quick to point out the team's MVP - Alex McDonald.

"Alex really was incredible," remarked Ehrlich. "During the entire process leading up to the event, we had talked about wanting to win the whole thing, but after seeing how excited Alex was to get in the boat and get out there, there was no doubt that we were taking home the crown. She was definitely the driving motivation behind the win."

While winning a race was icing on the cake for the football' team's newest member, McDonald also brought home another souvenir - a signed Harvard football.

The complete story, along with pictures from the event, can be found at GoCrimson.com.