Abigail Cool finds family in everything she does


Last year, sophomore Abigail Cool frantically rushed from her freshman lip sync practice, which had run too late, to band when she received a voicemail from fellow trumpet player and junior Susan Toppen. Susan had joked that Abigail being late was very disrespectful in the voicemail.

“I didn’t know it was with a joking tone at the time,” Abigail said. “If any of you know Susan, then you know she is one of the sweetest people ever. So, accordingly, I almost peed my pants upon hearing it. When we got to sectionals, Susan was laughing her eyes out, but I still feel a little bit of fear whenever I listen to that voicemail.”

Despite this, the voicemail had become a running joke between the two. At band awards, Susan presented Abigail with the “Too Disrespectful” award. The bond between the Abigail, Susan, and many of the other had become akin to family partially because their playful nature but also because of the leadership the seniors demonstrated when she was a freshman.

“I never felt inferior to everyone because we were just focused on having a good time,” Abigail said. “It was especially nice to come into my first day of high school last year knowing a lot of upperclassmen to help me out.”

Band camp was the facilitator for the early-bonding Abigail described as well as a practical way for each section to learn their music. At the start of each season, the entire band attends a grueling seven-day camp where they spend hours marching under the summer sun.

“It was pretty exhausting being out on the field all day for seven days,” Abigail said. “But, at the end of every day, it was a great feeling to know that everyone else was going through the same thing.”

However, Abigail never would have joined or found a family the band in the first place had it not been for her biological family. Her two older sisters, junior Lindsey Cool and college freshman Grace Cool, inspired and encouraged her to join.

While Abigail had been playing trumpet since fourth grade, she had to drop it for a year when she moved to the district and was required to play the recorder. In the following years, she followed her sister’s examples and decided to join the band. Although Abigail did take her sister’s experiences into account when choosing her instrument, she made her choice based entirely off what called to her.

“I chose the trumpet because I was drawn to it,” Abigail said. “ It’s brassy tones just swept me off my feet.”

Furthermore, Lindsey and Grace also impacted another one of Abigail’s major decisions: her decision to join the crew team.

“By the time I got to freshman year, both of my sisters had been in [crew],” Abigail said. “I had been at regattas helping out, and I just saw how the relationships [they] had were just so close. Just the kind of family that crew formed was something I wanted to be a part of.”

In addition to it being her first year of high school, last year was a time for many “firsts”: her first erg, her first ergatta, her first time rigging up her boat, her first time on the water, and her first regatta. Out of those, the ergattas were the most memorable.

“[For the ergatta,] the atmosphere, it’s crazy,” Abigail said. “You can’t hear anything. It’s hard to focus because there are just so many people. They know how much energy you have to put into this, and it’s a [nerve-wracking] event.”

While each athlete is at their machine, the infamous red bucket can most likely be seen. The bucket is for when the rowers are so motivated and work so hard they vomit. This isn’t out of the ordinary for a such a difficult sport like crew.

“We go through such immense pain and effort,” Abigail said. “It’s the result you get that bind us together, knowing we all went through that and being able to actually see yourself achieve great things.”

One of Abigail’s great accomplishments in crew is placing third at a regatta. She had been pulled up to varsity for the day to fill in for a teammate who had fallen ill that day. Needless to say, it started out very rough. Once they got into it, Abigail loved how they flew through the race and fell into rhythm with one another.

“It’s being able to mesh with your teammates, [which] is such an intense feeling because you know how much you have to lose,” Abigail said

As a team, they push each other to work harder, carbo-load on pasta together, and spend many freezing weekends together on the water. They all endure the same peaks and pits, the same misery and rewards. The crew team puts in so many hours of hard work, and Abigail found another family through the crew team.

“Waking up at 5:00 a.m. and getting home at midnight but knowing that you completed an amazing race with something that spent so much time with… that’s just like one of the best feelings,” Abigail said. “You vomited, you cried, or you were tired. But at the end of the day, just knowing that, with your family, you accomplished this amazing thing.”