I started rowing. I was huge (read: obese), anxious, and a potato. No need to sugarcoat anything, let’s just leave it at that.
October 5th, 2015.
A bit of a jump. Spent the first year learning the ropes, realising that I’ve met the love of my life in one of its many earthly manifestations: sport. I learned to picture myself with her. I loved how I saw myself with her.
The 5th of October was my first race.
Still huge, but a bit less. Still anxious but a bit less. You could say I was a sweet potato at this point. Still a potato.
27th September, 2016.
My first medal. The work that went into that shabby little piece of metal was mind-boggling. Training 4 times a f***ing week? Sometimes 5. Mad, no? A bit too much. But I loved it.
It wasn’t the physical work, that was no issue for obese me.
It was mental. I was anxious and had no clue how to be a part of a team. Everything was personal. But. I wouldn’t trade that race for a million $$$ US DOLLARS $$$
Teamwork was teamwork and we beat one other entrant. 4-lane race.
My first medal in the single. Still not gold. Looking back, nothing makes me prouder.
< rapid weight loss >
< only 3 fruit salads at benja’s for interval >
< nearly missed an o/level paper because of training >
I was averaging ~70km per week in the single scull, from March 2017 through June.
2017 was when I realised that passion has the power to change the deepest parts of your personality, identity, character, self-image, self-esteem, whatever you wanna call it. 2017 was when I realised that indifference to the obstacle gets rid of the obstacle itself. importantly, its when I realised that winning doesn’t really matter. It’s that you gave it everything, and can say, ‘That was everything. Damn, that was a good race’.
With the silver came another medal in the double. Words cannot express the closeness of two oarsmen in a boat, sharing pain and glory. 2017 is a fixed deposit into my ‘bank of reasons why.’ Interest rates are pretty high there.
2018 flies by…
…with no achievement of any sort. Dead year. Discipline falls by the wayside, training was shabby, consistently late for training for the first part of the year. Passion dying. Nationals came to nothing. Things have to change.
It crept up on me slowly. I wasn’t alone in it. My crew that year was the best I could ask for. Same for my coaches.
Feb national pool trials: SL open record for indoor 2k @ 6.38.9 . My FIRST REAL WIN with rowing.
No medals there, but enough to fuel the fire.
Nationals: Schoolboy sculler. My favourite competition/rival, missing. If you were there, you know! Good race though. The trophy was shiny for the pictures, and it was my last chance at it. Still no national medal.
RACE THE PEARL. That’s a different story.
Trained like a dog, slept like a princess, ate like I was still 14, and I finished last in heats. Both categories, Open and u23.
Moral of the story:
It’s been six years since the glorious beginning and (I tend to romanticise my school rowing years, but that’s how it is.) as you can very clearly see, I’ve lost far far more that I’ve ever won. I have one shiny gold to speak for 6 years of mindless dedication. Maybe I trained wrong. Maybe I didn’t lift enough. Maybe I didn’t do enough milage. None of that matters now, because the only thing I have to take from those years, is just how much I loved being on the water, being with my crew, being in the gym, being on the road. Training, connecting, learning.
My point is, I didn’t win much. The only thing that kept me going was how beautiful the process was. The process itself might at first seem intimidating to you, but you get used to it. As with anything in life. And at one point, you’ll catch yourself thinking: Hey, this isn’t so bad. I like it.
It’s what makes life worth living.