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What are you doing at 7 a.m. on a typical Saturday morning?

Let me tell you what I'm doing (whether you want to know or not) -- snoring. That's right, loud and clear. Snoring.

After each week of classes from September to May, I need a break -- from waking up at 11:00 a.m. every weekday to make my class, which starts at noon.

Many college students, I'm sure, are like me. Some probably don't even get up on Friday and Saturday mornings as a result of `college activities' at night time.

But there are a select few who are not like me. They have something.

It's called discipline.

A little something that gets them to practice by 7 a.m. every morning.

A little something that gets them through the 20-hour weeks of practice that test the uppermost boundaries of strength and conditioning.

A little something that keeps them going, despite limited recognition and crowds that consist almost entirely of friends and family.

The crew teams at Penn are composed of people who are easily among the most dedicated athletes in the student body.

Aside from trying to get through college with a degree (which, honestly, is a hard enough task in itself), these student-athletes are basically taking part-time jobs that offer no pay and are physically exhausting.

The obvious question: Why would anyone take on such a challenge?

Well, to long-time rowers like Penn heavyweight crew coach Stan Bergman, the deserved, yet unrealized recognition is not a concern.

"It's the kind of sport that you do for yourself," Bergman said. "It involves a selfless type of commitment."

And clearly the kind of commitment -- double sessions two to three times a week during the season -- that most people aren't willing to make.

A lack of fan base makes participation tough. To be able to put yourself through all that and not have, say, a couple thousand people screaming at the top of their lungs to cheer for you, that's rough (it also explains why the gym is full in January -- when people make their New Year's resolutions -- and empties within a month).

I've actually been to a couple of crew races. The truth is, you can't really imagine the kind of work they have to put in until you've seen it live. Seeing one boat edge out another to the finish line by a bowball (look that one up while you're at it) is truly something special.

So I'm not saying you shouldn't head down to the Palestra or Franklin Field to watch all the other sports.

But you should consider getting up early some Saturday morning in the springtime and watching some of Penn's best athletes in action.

And who knows, maybe you'll get wrapped up in the excitement that the sport offers.

Of course, don't forget to curb your `college activities' the night before.

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