Featured RVR Student: Joshua Yamamoto

Joshua (far right) and his RVR teammates

“Being on the water is usually the best part of my day,” says Joshua Yamamoto, a member of the first graduating class of Row to the Future’s Rainier Valley Rowing (RVR) program. He will attend Idaho State University this fall and is coaching at Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center this summer. Congratulations, Joshua!

We asked him about his experience in RVR and here’s what he had to say:

How long have you been rowing?

Joshua: I’ve only been rowing for two years. But the impact that rowing has had on my life goes far beyond the two years I was a participant. Length in years and months is a poor comparison to what I and other participants have gained from the sport and our coaches.

What is your favorite part about rowing?

Joshua: My favorite part about rowing is practicing on Lake Washington in the fall. I really like the fall because the leaves start to change. Looking at the leaves from the shore is totally different than from the water. Being on the water is usually the best part of my day. Feeling the boat run smoothly under you as all of the rowers pick up the weight is something that can only be described as exhilarating.

What lessons have you learned through your participation in crew?

Joshua: One important lesson I learned is sometimes you work hard and you win, and sometimes you work hard and you lose. When you win it seems like a small price to pay and when you lose it is tempting to get discouraged because it feels like you are not progressing. But win or lose the most important part is to learn from each race so that you can do even better on the next one. It’s not about winning or losing, just about being able to learn from each experience and move forward, not just move on.

Has Rainier Valley Rowing been an important part of your rowing experience? If so, why? 

Joshua: Rainier Valley Rowing (RVR) has been a very integral part of my rowing career. For starters I would not have been a rower (and subsequently a coach) had it not been for RVR. Unlike some programs, RVR is not just a handout for people who want to periodically participate in a sport. RVR requires their athletes to be accountable to the program, their coaches, and each other. Most of my best friends on the rowing team are RVR athletes. RVR athletes share a bond that goes beyond the bond between most of the other athletes. We know our backgrounds are similar and we are thankful for the opportunity presented to us. Being a part of Mt. Baker Crew and RVR has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. RVR really goes the extra step to ensure that all of the athletes can feel like they are a part of the team. I saw this demonstrated as an athlete and I continue to see this as a coach.

What are you most looking forward to about coaching? 

Joshua: The thing I am most looking forward to as a coach is working with the other coaches and learning from them. Many of the other coaches are helpful resources who are willing to help you become a better coach. Another part of coaching I am looking forward to is the ability to make a positive difference in the lives of the athletes I come in contact with. As a coach you have an opportunity to not only teach the sport you coach, but also to be a mentor and role model for those you coach.