by Elisabeth Andersson (CAS '18)
I’m typing this post on top of a sleeping cat and I just got my hair cut for the first time in a few years, which means that I’m obligated to keep it down for the entire day. Also, I just wrote about a thousand cover letters, so it’s entirely possible my fingers are fused to the keyboard. But, there you have it — a look into the life of a student-athlete over winter break.
We are intricate and complicated creatures that are very difficult to understand. We even use big words like ergometer. That’s not true, we cant even do that—we shortened it to erg. Oh look, I put my hair up. I lasted a whole fifteen minutes after my haircut! This is much better, now let’s get down to business.
We’re ready to get back to school. The team is suffering from extensive separation anxiety, which we express through a continuous chain of snapchats that sport as many double chins as the subjects can possibly fit between their chest and nose. Every time we go to our respective gyms and sit on the single erg placed awkwardly in the one space they couldn’t fit another treadmill, we sustain an enormous emotional crisis. This is especially prevalent when we look to our right, and, in place of the people that make us work harder and stay at an eighteen stroke rating for an ENTIRE sixty minute piece (yes I’m salty, dammit!), we find instead a yoga pant-clad, middle-aged woman reading People magazine on her elliptical, thinking 'this year is the year I keep my new year’s resolution.' Little does she know that this is the last day she will use her gym membership until December 23, 2016.
The next challenge after sitting down on the erg without the normal crew family is deciding what to do. And after that, it’s actually doing it. I’m so bored and this lady next to me is not helping—put the magazine down, please. In a few days she won’t be able to understand why, after the tens of minutes she spent on the elliptical with her magazine over the past few days, nothing has changed! So yes, it’s time to get back to school, where teammates work their asses off and New Year’s resolutions don’t exist because they aren’t new resolutions.
But returning to school presents another setback. As the Coles Sports Center is knocked down, many sports teams and lots of equipment are being relocated to Palladium, the main location of the crew’s winter training. The eight ergs that forty rowers manage to all use twice a day every day are being relocated to allow for the influx of many new varsity teams. Where will they go, our only useful machine for the entire winter season, you ask? Well, since it is exceedingly difficult to tilt the ergs upright against a wall so that they take up less than a foot of floor space, they are in storage until a suitable home is found for them. (For the record, 1. ergs are very easy to stand upright and 2. I would personally carry the ergs to a dorm basement if I’m just given the okay by the right person. Heck, put ‘em in a parking garage for all I care, I’ll just wear a hat.)
So, maybe winter training sucks. It hurts like hell, your body is constantly sore, and you’d better hope you’re always on the ground floor of a building— or at least that the building has an elevator— because descending stairs is the most painful thing a sore body can endure. Otherwise your best bet is sitting on your butt and sliding down the stairs. NYU rowers during winter season are like cats in trees: they can go up, but they don’t think about how they’ll get back down. Especially since the NYU campus was built vertically rather than horizontally like most college campuses.
Yet, if you’ve ever met a rower, you know that “it sucks,” “it’s good for you” and “it feels amazing” are all synonyms. Rowing is a bad addiction, and once you’re in, you’re in. We can’t claim that two-a-days are a commitment; in fact, we find it difficult to stay away from the gym for more than that. Some of us, can’t. Which is why there is at least one NYU rower at the gym every minute it’s open (except after 9 PM, of course, because we’ll be asleep by then). And, despite the monotony of staring at a wall for an hour or two every day rather than gazing upon the beautiful landscape that is the majestic, sparkling Passaic River, we know that these torture devices that we drench with our blood, sweat and tears (literally) will make us mean and fierce competitors in the world of collegiate rowing.
Thanks for reading this long-winded blog post. I had fun writing it but I’m done with winter break. It’s time to erg.