Surrounding myself with nature is one of the only things that can actually get me to calm down. While my mind still races through the events of the day and everything that has been going on around me, I am able to reach a certain clarity that is difficult to find any place else. The wind wraps itself around me, gently nudging and pushing me, almost inviting me to join it. I can see green in every direction, except the parking lot. The gray, paved area is filled with the cars of rowers, their parents, spectators, and judges and the trailers and buses of the teams competing. I can hear both people I know and strangers laughing, competitors warming up, and the distant sound of the fog horn, signaling the end of the race. Most people never get to experience regattas. The semi-underground world of crew and rowing is so foreign to the average person. We can feel things that are unattainable in any other sport or activity. We move together because we have to. Every motion in sync and graceful, yet powerful. We feel the water beneath us as the boat surges onward, sending the power through our bodies from the heels up into the calves and thighs, further into our backs and core, then finally the quick motion from our arms. We adapt to every condition. We do not give up. We press on even when it rains so hard you can’t see, when the wind pushes against you and throws waves into the boat, when the blade of your oar digs and gets caught under the water, throwing everyone off balance and the oar handle into your face, and when you can see the blood from your blisters running down your arms. Still, we do it not only for the races we win and the colleges we hope to get into, but for the perfect strokes, the calm days, and the moments when the sun smiles on us, sending its warmth and reassuring us that it is worth it.
A Rower's Guide To Life
March 5, 2011