'Grit and Grind 'Brings Erg Ed to Memphis

Updated: Oct 11, 2018

Coined by Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2010, the motto of the Memphis pro-basketball team, “Grit and Grind”, lives in the heart of Memphis. I had never been to Memphis before I arrived for the Erg Ed teacher training in November. What I found were five teachers ready to apply the Memphis “Grit and Grind” motto to their new role as Erg Ed teachers. Those teachers and the people of Memphis have a willingness to exist in the grey, tackle big questions and big issues, and push through. Even Memphis Rowing, the local rowing team founded and directed by Simon Warren, boasts Grind City Rowing apparel. The Grit and Grind of this city are going to be the spark and the engine that keep rowing growing in this city.

As the Erg Ed lead in Memphis, Simon is dreaming big about indoor rowing education because he knows the potential that rowing has to offer his students. “We’re very excited to bring the Erg Ed program to Memphis, and are especially excited to be working with the Memphis Grizzlies as part of their GrizzFit Empowerment Zones, where students will get a chance to regularly build skills across a variety of sports and disciplines in a structured and exciting environment. Erg Ed and GrizzFit will introduce rowing to kids who wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to row otherwise, and will give them access to the benefits that rowing brings – self-confidence, health, leadership, teamwork, and tenacity.”

Teachers are the foundation of a successful Erg Ed program. Their training is quite lengthy and it is often quite an unfamiliar motion. (Many Erg Ed teachers have never rowed before.) They put in a lot of hard work to master the skills of rowing. They have a willingness to learn and bring something new to their students because they care for their students, care for their city, and believe in quality physical education. This hard work and their teamwork together are the essence of good work, as the Pocock Foundation describes it. (Hard work plus teamwork equals good work!)

Reggie Carrick is the first teacher in Memphis to run Erg Ed in his classroom and he started two days after the training. His students have been in Erg Ed for the last three weeks, working on the skills you need to push through to the end – intensity, goal setting, and teamwork. When asked about his experience teaching Erg Ed, Reggie said, “My kids love it, they wish they had it longer. They have a lot of energy, so it works well and they love that it is something new and different. I haven’t had one kid who hasn’t enjoyed it. We’ve talked about them looking forward to watching rowing in the Olympics this summer.” Without prompting, Reggie added his own thoughts about the ergs, hinting that the hard work on the erg has him hooked. His son, who without hesitation joined the teacher Erg Ed training, is hooked too, which is evident in his picture below. “My son really loves the ergs, and I really do too, you get a great workout. I’ve been using them myself.”

Reggie’s actions exemplify all the pieces that come together to create good work. He faced the challenge of learning something new in order to create opportunities for his students. He helped students battle any nerves or ambivalence when they saw and used the ergs, most for the first time. And he encouraged students who thought they were at their limits push through to the end. It has been incredible to see the Erg Ed program blossom and grow in the city of Memphis. We can’t wait to see what happens at the next stop for Erg Ed: Allentown, PA in January 2016. Stay tuned for future updates and photos!

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