Today is a Friday, three months later, and at 4:50 AM I am dressed in 3+ layers, scrambling to catch a cab, ready to get my extra half hour of sleep on the van ride to the Passaic River. At this point I was picturing what the coaches’ version of “Fun Day” was about to entail. It was the last day of water practice until next Spring.
Those first few weeks were rough -- I still pity whichever varsity rower was put in our novice boat each day because, honestly, we really sucked. When they tell you that you truly don’t have to know anything about rowing or even how to be athletic, they really do mean it. I was probably as far to the ignorant side as is possible on the spectrum of rowing knowledge, and I had never played a real sport in my life.
Now I have a love for bow seat and a deep attachment to the starboard life, and my novice crew and I can actually make the boat move down the river.
If you would’ve asked me back on that first day in September whether I would still be here in November I would have laughed, told you “basically everyone quits eventually,” and estimated my survival time to be two weeks, if even.
Truthfully, the single thing that kept me waking up each morning when I was tired from such little sleep and finishing my pieces at the gym each night when all I wanted to do was stop, were the 34 other people that also call this team their family. Pretty quickly I became attached to starting my day with them, and those rare days off were not as enjoyable as I once would've imagined them to be.
My goal starting out was just to survive my novice Fall semester, maybe learn some terminology here or there, and have a basic understanding of how to take a stroke. It's been so much more than that, though. I've learned how to row, how to erg, and how to lift weights but most importantly, I've learned how to be accountable and how to be the best teammate that I can be for the girls in my boat.