7 Things Rowing Taught Me About Life

7 Things Rowing Taught Me About Life

I learned more than any textbook could teach me.
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I started rowing on a whim when I was 14. Little did I know how much I was going to love it or how much it would come to teach me. I rowed for five years, ten seasons and even made my college decision based on official recruiting visits and which team atmosphere I liked the most. Senior year of high school I served as a team captain and come mid-Fall I had been recruited to row in a Division I program and couldn't have been more ecstatic. Unfortunately, Spring of my freshman year of college I suffered a concussion that took me out for an entire season. I haven't rowed since then, but I also haven't lost the lessons that spending five years in a shell with eight other amazing ladies taught me. The beauty of this sport is that everything you learn can go beyond the water or the erg room. As the ultimate team sport, rowing teaches you about character and integrity, things you can and should apply to your everyday life. Here are the seven most important lessons I took away from my time in a boat.

1. Motivation

It takes a lot to keep yourself going when your 1000 meters into a race, can feel the blood soaking out of the torn skin on your palms and can barely breathe. It's at this point in a race where you remember why exactly you do this sport. It may be subconscious because everything goes numb and you black-out at a certain point, but it's there. The same goes for anything life may throw at us, when you're feeling overwhelmed remember that there is always an end to the race. Stay driven, stay committed, stay motivated; to whatever you may do.

2. Toughness

5:30 a.m. wake-ups? Practice nine times a week? Pushing yourself until you puke or pass out? All par for the course in rowing. In the off season, it's all about numbers: how much you can lift, how fast you can row each 500 meters and how many people you can go faster than. On the water its all about state-of-mind: not letting your eyes wander from the boat for even a split second, staying perfectly in time with the person in front of you and making yourself drive your legs so hard you're on the threshold of passing out. It takes a special kind of person to be proud of the callouses on their hands. After doing all of this just for a sport you come to realize there's virtually nothing in life you can't accomplish with enough grit.

3. Time Management

Remember how I talked about those nine practices a week? That amounts to about twenty hours or more. When you're a full-time student and involved with other extracurriculars you essentially have no time for anything else. Meals happen after practice with your team and even sleep is timed down to the minute. Homework is done during any spare time during the day or into late hours of the night. After juggling all of that for just a semester you become a pro at prioritizing and time management, two of the most valuable skills to apply to life outside of a sport.

4. Selflessness

In a boat, you're slamming your legs down and ripping on the oar for so much more than yourself. You pull for the other people in your boat. You work hard in the off season because you're not just affecting your own performance but the performance of eight other people as well come race season. It sometimes feels like only your numbers on an erg matter, but ergs don't float and when you have to row in perfect time with everyone else in a boat you realize that it's a sport so much bigger than any one person. The same goes for the real world. If you live your life centered around yourself you will eventually end up being miserable. Live for yourself but do it in a way that also benefits others.

5. Leadership

Whether you're a captain, a novice or an olympic athlete, when you learn to row you learn to be a leader. Although it's not something I learned until college, calling people out when they're not doing something to the best of their ability isn't supposed to humiliate them, if done in the proper way it can be the best thing you ever do. Being a leader isn't about telling people what to do all the time it's about learning how to communicate, delegate and when to step back and let someone else lead. Act the same way in life and you will probably find most of your group endeavors to be successful.

6. Humility

You're not always going to win. You're not always going to be the fastest. You're not always going to hit your goal time. But you damn well will want to be. However, how you handle defeat speaks volumes to the kind of person you are. You can choose to be pissed off, demoralized and act defeated. Or you can choose to be pissed off, take it with a grain of salt, and then put your head down and work harder. But I promise if you choose the latter you will taste success sooner or later.

7. Discipline

Pushing your body to its absolute limit more often than not when you lay hands on an oar or an erg handle will test you like you have never been tested before. But every single time you will come out a little bit stronger, and seeing yourself improve is what makes it all worth it. You will learn how to keep a boat balanced while driving as hard as you can and recovering slowly, in exact time with the person in front of you. There's no other sport that requires such extreme exactness of not only mental but physical action. Apply the same discipline in life, to deadlines, to assignments and to work ethic and you will continue to succeed.

Cover Image Credit: Taryn Carroll

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Will The Seahawks Extend Bobby Wagner?

The star veteran linebacker will turn 29 in June.

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The Seattle Seahawks have made a few notable moves so far in the 2019 NFL offseason. They traded star pass rusher Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs for significant draft capital and made quarterback Russell Wilson the highest-paid player in NFL history after his self-imposed April 15 deadline for a contract extension. In addition, they selected Ohio State wide receiver D.K. Metcalf in the 2019 NFL Draft after he surprisingly fell to the 64th overall pick at the end of the second round. However, there are still a few questions to be answered. Most notably, will the Seahawks extend veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner?

Seattle drafted two linebackers in Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven in this year's draft. However, Wagner has been one of the NFL's top linebackers throughout his seven-year career and is considered by many to be the best along with Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly. Although a versatile player, he is perhaps most known for his elite tackling ability and efficiency in that department. In the 2018 season, he missed only one tackle out of 139 attempts and was given a 139.0 tackling efficiency score from Pro Football Focus, more than double the score of runner-up Jon Bostic. However, he is entering a contract year and approaching his 29th birthday, so Seattle must make a decision on his long-term future.

Wagner is expected to become the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL after being overtaken by five other players of his position since he signed his initial four-year, $43 million contract extension on August 2, 2015. He has been one of the most consistent linebackers in the league and has stayed relatively healthy throughout his career with few character concerns. After Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley set the market for the position with his five-year, $85 million contract, the Seahawks will have to offer a significant amount of dough to their star to keep him. Wagner has stated that he will play the 2019 season as if it is his last in the Emerald City and reports say that he is not keen on taking a hometown discount to stay with the team.

The Seahawks were in a similar situation with veteran safety Earl Thomas last offseason when he held out for a contract extension that paid him his perceived value. We all know how that turned out. Could the same scenario happen with Wagner? All we know for sure is that Seattle has another large decision to make for another veteran star player.

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