Rowing is a more welcoming sport to novices than any I have ever experienced. Despite the level of technical skill necessary to be comfortable in a boat, rowing clubs across the country actively recruit athletes of all ages to take up an oar.
I have always found the rowing community to be one filled with individuals who fondly remember their first strokes in a boat. Most people would be hard pressed to recall their first time dribbling a basketball or playing catch, but rowers can easily recollect the feel of shakily sitting in the boat during their first weeks of practice. It is an experience that is foreign yet formative. Gained confidence incites progress in a way that is tangible to both the athlete and coach. However, it is only with patience and confidence that this progress is possible.
The athletes of Raining Valley Rowing have reminded me of the joys and challenges of bringing rowing into the fold of an aggressively productive and rich life. The act of being a student athlete is an immensely demanding one. Electing to explore, and excel at, an entirely new sport while challenged by scholastics is truly applause worthy.
I feel honored to be a part of these high achieving individual’s pursuits. They have made me feel welcome in their warm, and often quite raucous, community. They are a lucky bunch, having been introduced to rowing at such an early age. Whether or not rowing has a place in their future, I hope that they will always feel a strong sense of pride for their willingness to take those first shaky strokes.