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The Truth With Eyes Closed

By , Pittsburgh, PA
My rushing pulse and heavy breaths overwhelmed me as my sister dragged me into the locker room. She laid me down, made me close my eyes, and told me to listen. I heard people yelling and blasting music that burned my ears.. Then my sister said to me "This is our sport, its sometimes not fun but we do it because we love it."

You're staring at the screen of a stationary rowing machine. You see the numbers going down, so fast but too slow. There's not much in you that keeps going for pleasure. That's why in crew you have to have a reason to keep going when you can't go any longer. With this in mind, We stick it out, and together we work through the pain. We work through the pain together, because we want to succeed together. Because our memories of each other will last longer than the pain.

And I now know from experience. We had an erg race this past weekend. We had to pull as hard as we could on the rowing machines for a short, but dreaded eight minutes. But after finishing, the pain isn''t so much of what stuck with me. I don't remember my numbers; I don't even remember finishing. I do have a very clear image, however, of my friends Vanessa, Katie, and Anna cheering me on behind the ropes. And I remember smiling through my pain because I wouldn't have wanted anyone else to be there.

There's a cheesy poster in the boathouse that reads: "When you can't row any longer, row for the woman in front of you, row for those to come. row as one." It sounds like any other cliche sports poster you'd find, but I couldn't find better words to describe my reason to row. I row because of the woman in front of me, and my friends behind the ropes, and my sister making me listen. I row because those moments that seem to last forever when my muscles are aching, fade from my memory faster than I can believe. I row because I know that the moments that fly by, the ones spent with the people I'm proud to call teammates, are the ones that stick with me. And I row because I know that there's a woman behind me, pulling for me.

And then you realize this sport isn't about you. Its about your team you hear in the other room. Your team that will comfort you and cheer you up when you go back outside. Lying there with my eyes closed, I chose them. Then, opening my eyes, I laughed a little and said: "I'll write about it"
and so I did.





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