yes, it's true. Once upon a time, I rowed. For essentially 7-8 years. That is a big chunk of my 27 year life. ANd, now, I have spent close to two years coaching. I love. Love. LOVE. rowing. When i was a wee one, I swam. For a lot of years. and, I loved it. But, it wasn't that sport that I really chose. I just did it. I liked it. And, i did fairly well at it.
not like rowing. I quit swimming to go to a school that would give me a chance to row, because people told me "you have the perfect rower's body." I have story an experience from rowing from everything. from having teammates tell me that I am not pulling hard, to getting silver at San Diego Crew Classic, and the Head of the Charles. Everything from swearing at my coxie while getting off an erg, to learning how to master that wreatced machine. From barely making petite finals ("I am not a petite girl! I shouldn't be rowing in petite finals") and gotten silver at the canadian high school rowing nationals. I have have a story and experience for almost everything.
I used to have a necklace with a hatchet blade pendant. I wore it, because it was my passion. An identity. I knew myself as a rower. so many times, I would have friends introduce me as: "This is Amo. She's canadian. She came here to do crew." they even paid me to row. they paid me to do my passion. I had to give it to someone else, for two reasons. She needed it more that I did. And, I needed to remember what it was to not only know my identity as a rower. I needed to identify myself as me.
for a number of reasons, I walked away from rowing, sick of it, and angry at aspects of the sport. Not my teammates. Not the feeling of flying over the surface of the water. I walked away, because (if I think about it now), rowing is one of the only sports that can allow other people to determine your fate. And, that is what happened. Something was taken away from us, that we deserved, that we wanted, and that we were anticipating. And, in every way possible, it was not fair.
But, that's life. Despite it taking years for me to even think about going back to the sport, I have come back. Not as a rower. I don't need that. But, to give back some of my passion to people who have some of that same passion. And, I am finally in a spot that I can wear part of that passion on my body, without being engulfed in it. So, I bought myself a ring this past weekend, while at "Head of the fish."
This past season, in rowing, has been one of the hardest I have ever dealt with. As a coach, it has been tiring. And, it has been frustrating. So, if it has been this for me, I just get a glimpse of what my girls are feeling. I finished the season with two silver medals, but with conflict. and, that was hard. Rowing, unlike triathlon, is not a sport of individuals. Though, you have to be able to dig inside yourself to more degree than in anything else, to do well. As a rower, you build the closest friendships you will ever have. And, you can have the most passionate fights that you will ever have with your teammates. But, at the end of the day, leave it on the water. That is the *only* way that you will succeed in this sport.
This weekend, I sat at the waters edge, away from my team for a while, watching boats come in and out of docks. Watched the powerful eights cross the finish line. And, then watched a boat with some of my girls, and two guys that I coach often, cross the line 3 minutes ahead of the next boat in their category. I jumped up and down on the dock, did a little dance, laughed with the other coach. And, i felt nostalgic. Because when it comes down to it... despite the fact that I will never competitively row again...
I miss it. every part of it. the good the bad the easy the hard.