One of the of the best days of this 2013 summer, portraying the heartwarming spirit that Berklee and Boston so uniquely create, was the AccesSportAmerica Mayor’s Cup Regatta. On July 14, a collection of diverse, working, and studying individuals (majority of them Berklee folk) gathered together in a corner of the Charles River to celebrate the joy of teamwork and community. More accurately, 40 corporate, philanthropic teams of eight jumped in a canoe and frantically raced each other on the Charles River for the great cause of encouraging higher function and fitness for children and adults living with disabilities. This was my first time experiencing this great event and the fourth year Berklee’s LiveWell and Office for Diversity and Inclusion sponsoring it!

There we were with hot dogs, life jackets, and good ol’ Western patriotism. Superman and Batman lounge by the scoreboard as the announcers and crowd cheers bomb over a green Charles for the next run of racing canoes. The Harvard football team unexpectedly having the upper hand for the last run, making for final moments of suspense and victory. All just before a buffet of some of Boston’s finest catering opens up to a herd of hungry Vikings.

The day started with the sun fully out, a vivid blue sky, and a grassy area with a bevy of bright white booths that gleamed under the sun. Looking around one could see a myriad of colorful team shirts, face paint, costumes, and mascots. The Harvard football team in full, bulky uniform, a group of Uncle Sam look-a-likes, a crew of superheroes, and then us, The Berklee Beats, in a brilliant baby blue! As presumed, not too far away a band of Berklee faculty in Hawaiian shirts hit bongos and plucked acoustics, harmoniously tying the day together with rhythmic, Latin Jazz.

Then before we knew it we were going through the precautions and propped in a boat with life jackets that felt one size too small, and drifting up to the starting line with a slight shifting air of panic amongst us. With a rush of adrenaline, and the loud announcement of “Go!” the immediate burn in our arms punctured as we begin to paddle furiously. “Why couldn’t I have lifted a few weights for this?” is the question running on repeat through my mind. Straight, around the hub, and then back again. It started and ended quick. Though, the minute we crossed that finish line together we couldn’t help but feel a great sense of accomplishment and spirit that was shared throughout the day, and that ended up bringing us all closer.

Being a current Berklee student it’s sometimes a struggle to find an effective escape from the working, studying, future “innovator of tomorrow” mindset that is exercised on a daily basis. To stumble upon an unexpected, refreshing experience is a great appreciation. It’s a reminder of how to have fun in the moment and to not take everyday stresses too seriously. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the simple things like a sunny day, new friendly faces, a flash of memorabilia, a cold iced-tea, or a small taste of outdoor competition can change a mood or perspective right around and create a really great memory. Looking forward to next year!