A Casual Conversation with David Weir
Feb. 16, 2009
Weir spent the summer training for the Under-23 World Championships and rowed in the bow seat of the Men's Heavyweight 4+ boat that finished fifth in Brandenburg, Germany. During the 2008 season he primarily rowed in the stroke seat of the Junior Varsity 8+, which earned victories in its dual race against Gonzaga, defeated UC San Diego at the Pac-10 Challenge, finished fourth at the San Diego Crew Classic, and recorded a third place finish in the Pac-10 Championships. Weir provides experience on this year’s team and is expected to compete for a seat in the varsity boat. Courtesy of osubeavers.com. David gives a shout-out to his parents, his girlfriend, and his team!
Attribute I like most about myself... I am easy to get along with. At least I think so!
Most creative cheer or sign at a competition... The Beaver football team has a chant that they do on third down: “Chainsaw”. After the team upset USC this past fall, the chant kind of grew into a Beaver Nation mantra. Anyway, my girlfriend is on the gymnastics team and at one point last year her team asked the rowers to paint up for a big meet. We got all the guys involved, stripped our shirts off, and painted our chests in orange and black letters that spelled “Chainsaw”. After that, our attendance grew into a home-meet ritual, with no fewer than five guys showing up for every meet. The words we painted and cheered grew to include “Yougotta Wantit” (four words for most people, but two words for us) and “Get It” (because you can’t scream “Stick It” at a gymnastics meet). At the gymnasts’ annual Pink Out meet, we paint pink shirts on our chests and then paint the orange and black letters as a second coat. Our presence gets the team really excited. And to reciprocate the fanfare, the gymnasts paint up for one of our regattas. The paint goes over a real t-shirt, though! We don’t have any home regattas this season, but their squad is actually planning to paint up for an away meet.
How being a volunteer for the Corvallis fire squad is a different type of brethren from the rowing team... The big difference between the two squads is that one is work and the other is play. I actually lived in the firehouse the past two years; even though shifts are designated as 24 hours on-duty followed by 48 hours off, when you live at the station you must be “on” 100% of the time. I would run calls and help where I could with the guys who were on-duty. I was 17 years old when I knew I wanted to become a firefighter; even though I’m still an undergrad, I have been training for my profession and earning necessary certifications for several years. The thing that touches me most about the job is simply that people call us when they’re having a bad day. We as firemen are the solution to bettering their unfortunate situation. And people are always extremely grateful to us. With all this said, I moved out of the station house this year to focus on rowing. Much like fire squads, a rowing team must train consistently and with great commitment so that when the call (i.e., race) comes, everyone is prepared. Our Beaver team practices diligently so that on race day everything “clicks” and we are completely in control.
What I learned from participating on the U23 National Team last summer that I will apply to the Beaver team this season... Most importantly, I gained firsthand experience that the guy with the biggest heart is always going to win. The U23s spent the summer training in Philadelphia, day in and day out each man focused on qualifying for the Trials team. When we finally made it to the contest, my crew found ourselves 2.5-seconds down at the halfway point of the race. We were on the biggest stage of our lives and failing; we each silently thought, “Well, there goes all of our incredible efforts from the summer, down the drain.” But suddenly we collected ourselves and decided to rally. In the second half of the race we not only overcame our 2.5-second deficit, but we won by 7 seconds. Now back on campus, I constantly tell our guys to keep [this fall’s] Oregon State football upset over USC fresh in their minds. That game was proof that the little guy can overcome the giant.
If I was stranded on a desert island, the three essentials I would need to have include... An iPod loaded with a Bob Marley and the Wailers album (hey, I’m on an island!), a Swiss Army knife, and Bear Grylls [from the Discovery Network’s Man vs. Wild] as a companion!
Hardest rowing workout at Oregon State... We organized a big intrasquad boat race a couple of weeks ago. The idea was to get some racing under our belts after our winter training camp. The team was split in half, Orange vs. Black. Bragging rights and a trophy cup were on the line! The race was of 10k distance. Up river. It took us 35 minutes of all-out effort before we crossed the finish line. My boat won; it required a lot of strategy to last for so long, but Orange won.
My favorite athlete in a sport other than rowing... Lance Armstrong. His story is incredible simply because of everything he’s had to overcome. He looked death and hardship straight in the eye and then got back on his bike. I have some health issues from my past that allow me to relate to his struggle: being pushed down to zero and having to claw your way back up.
Something about myself that others would be surprised to hear... I’m soft and cuddly. At practice I’m called Angry Dave because I’m hard and to the point.
Love to trade places for a day with... I want to be the First Son. I don’t want to trade places with Sasha or Malia because I like being male, but I would dress in men’s J. Crew if that was a requirement for joining the family. I could lounge around the White House all day, have no responsibility, and my dad would be Mr. President!
Highlight of having the Pac-10 Rowing Championships on my home lake [Lake Natoma]... I started rowing on Lake Natoma in high school and it will be the site of my last collegiate race. My parents live about a mile from the course; when I was growing up the horns at the finish line were a comforting and frequent sound. When we travel to Natoma my parents host us - my dad will cook, we’ll hang out. It’s very comfortable.
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