I started rowing in 8th grade as a way to stay in shape and try something new. Instead of just daily conditioning and training, I discovered a love and passion for a sport and team. Rowing has made me grow as a person, friend, leader and athlete. Not only has it made me stronger physically, but mentally as well. Rowing has become an intricate part of my daily life. I never thought I would wake up at the crack of dawn and look forward to an intense workout. Yet every morning, I’m at the boathouse working as hard as I can and then pushing myself even harder. My coach always says, “Row hard, then row harder.” I find myself craving the feel of the water, being outdoors, pushing myself to the limits, and being part of an amazing team.
Rowing also helps me release my daily stress and find serenity. If I have a test in school and I’m nervous, the anxiety is relieved while I’m in the boat. I can hear it breaking through the water, and I can see the sun rising over the mountains. I have loved rowing since the first day my oar cut the water. I would love to have the ability to continue forever.
Rowing also helps me be a more confident person. When I was in 8th grade, my coach told me he would not take any 8th graders on the team. I hoped to prove him otherwise. I was driven to work harder and train more. I fought and persevered through all the demanding workouts, and I came in fifth for my age group during the Mid-Atlantic erg sprints. In the end, my coach invited me to join the team. I also know I have what it takes to row in college. I am a good candidate because I’m dedicated to this sport in every way, and I give my all to my team.
In the fall, I endured a hip surgery and have since fully recovered. However, with every injury, there are setbacks on the road to recovery. There were days when I was in so much pain from surgery, but my love for this sport helped me stay motivated and persevere through all the steps of recovery. Because of my love for rowing and being on the water, giving up was never an option. My determination, focus and commitment to get back to rowing made me stronger. I have learned how to push through pain and the mental blocks to make myself a better athlete and student. I chose to fight and work even harder for what I love.
Rowing has inspired me in many aspects of my life other than just the physical. It has taught me patience and how to have fun in the stress before a race. It helps me be a better friend and leader to support those around me. It helps me to better apply myself and be disciplined in school. I have learned how to better handle stress, manage time, focus and stay determined even when struggling. My love for rowing also motivates me academically because now I want to row in college. Rowing has helped me learn how to persevere through adversity no matter the setback and always apply myself as best I can. The words of my coach have become my new motto, “Row hard, then row harder!”