Rowing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   A ripple slowly dissolves into the water surrounding our eight-man shell as we place it on the lake. A little shiver shakes my body as a crest of cool water runs onto the dock and over my bare feet. The coxswain's voice on her tiny microphone and the soft splash of waves against the rocks are the only audible sounds. The trees sway in the morning breeze and far off I see the bridge open over the cut to let the first sailboat pass through. Everything else is still as we secure our oars and slide them across the water. Eight oars rest buoyantly on the lake awaiting motion. Eight women gently step into the boat as one team, balancing each other to maintain stability. We make the necessary adjustments to our foot stretchers and seats. We count down from bow ... and we are ready to go.

Leaving the dock of our boat house on Lake Union, the chatter dissipates and all focus shifts back into the boat. My mind processes a million different things at once - my slide speed relative to the boat's, my hand height, the position of my hands on the oar, the intensity at which to drive my legs during this piece, the amount of arch I should have in my back at the catch and at the release ... None of these thoughts penetrates my concentration. As I let myself glide through each stroke in sync with the rhythm of the boat, these details drift about aimlessly in my head. Sometimes I do not even know that I am thinking them. They melt into an oblivion of irrelevant thoughts and drown in the beauty around me. My rowing becomes mechanical. My body knows all of the motions and every position even when my mind forgets. I realize this and surrender, letting myself become a part of the boat and a part of my surroundings. It is now that I am finally able to see, feel, and appreciate where I am at this moment.

I am on the water. I am in a boat with eight other driven and dedicated women and we are indomitable. We row as one - smoothly, crisply, artfully. We fly and glide across the water with grace and power. Each of us senses every movement of the others. Our oars fall into the water at precisely the same moment and our legs drive together, swiftly pulling the boat through our puddles. We release together, skillfully drawing our oars out of the water in preparation for the next stroke. We are one - one team, one boat, one stroke, one when we win, one when we lose, always one. l

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

. said...
Dec. 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm


This is a great piece. I'm a cox, so I can totally relate. Keep on writing!

God bless,


. said...
Dec. 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm


I loved this piece. I'm a cox, and I can totally relate. Keep on writing!

to.hold.the.sun This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 12, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Wow. I'm so glad I finally found an article about rowing on here! It's one of the most legit and just plain old hard sports out there, but, at least in my neck of the woods, the only sport in the world that matters to anyone at all is football.

Anyway, I love the sport (I also row, in case you haven't guessed). It takes a strong, passionate person to pursue this sport, but it's also rewarding when you win a race or just feeling the rhythm of the boat, everyone bein... (more »)

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