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It Happens Here: Community Rowing In Brighton

BOSTON (CBS) - It Happens Here in Brighton. Once a hub of cattle stockyards that provided food for General Washington's army during the Revolutionary War, it is now a diverse neighborhood, home to families and college students. Brighton is also where the Celtics and Bruins practice in new state-of-the-art facilities right along the Massachusetts Turnpike.

This western corner of the city of Boston is separated from Cambridge by the Charles River, one of the world's premiere rowing venues for elite athletes. Beginners are also welcome and the folks at Community Rowing, Inc, would love to teach you.

"Our mission here is to make rowing accessible for all," explained Raphi Tayva, a coach and program manager.

Raphi heads up free programs for veterans and the disabled. There are also youth programs for students in Boston.

Community Rowing
8-man boat on the Charles River (WBZ-TV)

"We serve everyone from 12-years-old up to around 95," Raphi explained. "One of the most important things we do here with your mission is breaking down those stereotypes in what is traditionally considered an elitist sport."

Raphi and fellow coach Eddie Mog agreed to give WBZ's Chris McKinnon and Kate Merrill a crash course on rowing.

After showing them how to carry the shell down to the water, they outfitted the WBZ boat with pontoons. These, they explained, are essentially like training wheels. "So we won't be taking a swim in the Charles," Chris joked.

Kate Merrill
WBZ's Kate Merrill and Chris McKinnon on the Charles River (WBZ-TV)

After a few awkward moments with the shell safely next to the dock, Kate and Chris pushed off to try the real thing. There was a bit of a learning curve at first. Coordinating the movements just right is trickier than it looks. But with some good coaching from Eddie through a bull horn in a nearby boat, they eventually got the hang of it.

Raphi and Eddie urge anyone with interest in rowing to swing by the facility on Nonantum Road. Any of the staff members would be happy to show you around and explain the learn-to-row programs.

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