Thursday, October 2, 2008


This summer, I signed up for rec rowing. I was oh so excited when I heard about it, and oh so excited for it to start. I signed up with an ermm friend of mine, and together, we were excited. I should have known things would rapidly go downhill, when she also signed up her asshat boyfriend, but really, that was the least of my issues.

The very first get together was promising. I met my crew, they all seemed nice, albeit, at least 20 years older then me, but nice. My friend and her boyfriend were late to the first meeting, and this would be a reoccurring theme throughout the rest of my rowing days.

I rowed in grade school, and a little bit in high school, and I loved it. I especially loved it in grade school, because it was just a bunch of kids my age, and it was kinda like camp, except we rowed, and occasionally played capture the flag. It was good times. These were the rowing memories I was recalling when I enthusiastically signed up for rec rowing this summer.

It never crossed my mind that I would hate it. Everything I had heard about rec rowing sounded a little something like, "it's so fun!!" "You'll love it!!" "It's more about the drinking then the rowing!!". I believed all this hype. I went in with high hopes that I would hop in the boat with my crew, and we would row in perfect synchronicity off into the sunset, and when we were done, we would all sit together on an outdoor patio somewhere drinking beers, and talking about how funny it was when so and so's paddle accidentally hit a duck.

NO. What I failed to add to this vision was the fact that I apparently suck at rowing. And the coach was crazy. Sucking at rowing + crazy coach= getting yelled at for two hours at at time. And that it was precisely what it became. I would drag my ass out of the boat at the end of every practice, hoping that someone would at least drop me a little, "you did good today" or "you've improved". I don't need constant accolades, but holy shit, after getting the crap kicked out of me for two hours, I need someone to throw me a bone. Judging by the way our practices were run, everyone else in the boat was a great rower, except me, because the coach would spend the entire practice yelling at me. "You're shooting the seat" "Lower your hands!" "Lower your hands!" "LOWER YOUR HANDS!!". One practice, after he shouted, "I've said it fifty to a hundred times now, lower your hands! Why don't you get it!!!". I cried a little bit beneath my sunglasses. I'll lower my hands buddy, into your face! Gawd, I wanted to just jump off the boat, and swim on home to shore.

After one particular practice, I was so pissed off from having being yelled at for so long, I just glared at everybody. I was stewing inside, I payed money for this? How is this possibly rec rowing? Too intense I say, too intense!

So I quit. I am a huge, big quitter. I never went back, because holy crap, it was stressing me out a little too much. I wasn't trying to train to get into the Olympics, I just wanted to have some fun and row. In the end, I ended up not doing much of either.

As for my friend I joined with, well, she and her boyfriend basically missed every single practice and race. I saw them maybe once.

Honestly, part of me wants to feel bad for quitting, because I usually like to see things through, but a larger part of me was liberated with the knowledge that, I really don't need to put myself through this if I don't want to. I had a very Twisted Sister, We're Not Going to Take This, kinda moment, and I must say, I enjoyed it. Some may call it quitting, I call it saving my sanity.

Lesson learned though. I"m not cut out for competitive sports. I just don't really care that much. Come in last, come in first, I don't give a crap, as long as it's fun. And the fun, it was sorely lacking in rec rowing. On to the next adventure I suppose. Or back to the gym.

1 comment:

sp said...

Life is too short to pay to have someone yell at ya. I think you should send an email to the organization and remind them what rec rowing is supposed to be about.

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