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True Confessions of a Female Motorcyclist

One motorcyclist and now rower/coxswain's perspectives on life.

Footprints On My Soul

  Posted by katecraig , 19 June 2013 · 1,032 views

Posted ImageIt’s life’s challenges that define and shape who we are, remind us we can trust after a broken heart or stand up after a fall. It’s a task that seemed impossible or a note we didn’t think we could play. But (perfect) practice makes perfect. Perseverance. Accepting that you have to fail before you’ll succeed. No one ever does anything perfect on their first try.
Last night, one of my rowing coaches reminded us it will take about 2-3 years to develop the muscle memory of a rower. As someone who likes to stick my nose to the grind and try try again until I succeed, 2 years seems like a long time. But then I remember previous challenges. Like learning how to tromp across a football field while playing my trumpet.
I have to ask, what sick person decided it was a good idea to have musicians march around a field to entertain crowds during halftime? I might have a bone to pick with them regarding the number of fat lips I received from my mouthpiece until I learned how to march in step and not run into a color guard flag.
But if I’m being really honest, marching band made high school fun. It’s what I remember the most from those four years. Yes, band camp was long, hot, and tiring. The wool uniforms weren’t overly stylish, especially with their empire waists and sequin sashes. Yet it was band that enabled me to travel to New York City to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And it was also band that took me to Pasadena, CA to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade.
Music’s footprints will forever be on my soul. Rowing has begun to leave the same mark. Just like it took me at least a year or two to feel fully confident on the football field, it’s going to take the same amount of dedication, work, and time on the water. As impatient as I can be, I understand. There are no shortcuts.
The other thing I’ve learned is that nothing is truly isolated from anything else if you love it. While in the boat, music has resurfaced. My internal metronome ticks in my head as I count through my drive and then my recovery. (Lengthen the recovery time, I have to remind myself. Slow the slide.) It’s all about rhythm. It’s all about learning to perform together as one, knowing each other so well that we can anticipate the other’s movement.
Like the coach said, that all takes time. You have to crawl before you can walk. There’s no skipping steps if you want to do it right, if you want to be successful.
As I mentioned in a previous post, this past year has presented me with plenty of challenges and each one has shaped the person I am today. Each one was worth it if for no other reason than I really like the person I’ve become. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.
In July, my novice team will compete in Capital Sprints on the Anacostia. This will be my first race as a rower. Our goal will be to win, but the definition of winning doesn’t have to be a medal. Yes, a medal will be nice. But my definition of winning will consist of 8 rowers, rowing together for 1000 meters, pushing each other, listening to our coxswain, and quieting that voice that tells us we’re tired and it’s too far to the finish line. Winning will be all of us learning we can.
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