I’m typically a little bit of a loner but since sculling terrifies me I end up in large boats with other people to row.
I’ve started adjusting to my new rowing club, and by “adjusting” I mean I talk to people now before and after practice. We row together regularly enough that I know who rows port, who rows starboard, and who’s an ambirower. I know who digs too deep and who has fast hands. Who’s rowed since high school and who’s a late in life athlete like me. Especially with the people I’ve raced with, I know who will go all out and start screaming “FUCK NO!” if it looks like we’re getting passed with 100 meters. I know which coxes will start giving calls in foreign languages and who will play the Beach Boys over the speakers and tell us to imagine we’re in beautiful, no humidity California.
I’ve also coxed enough that people want to be in my boat and I know where all the sandbars are located.
I experienced wearing a team uniform and chanting and cheering my teammates in their races, where oddly their victory became a collective experience.
And on Tuesday night, I felt just a little more bonded as we sat in our boats in front of Nationals’ stadium singing “Blank Space” in our own little homage to Taylor Swift.
The funny thing that attracted me to rowing was that if you’re in the boat, you can’t get left behind like you can when you run with a group and everyone just left me behind. I kind of love being a part of a club like this, and rowing has proven to be a lot better and a lot more than just a way to make me run faster.
In short, don’t be afraid to branch out from running and do something else. It’s not the be all end all that runners make it out to be.