Underrated Rowing

The author captaining her boat in the middle of NYC

The author captaining her boat in the middle of NYC

Only about 7 minutes, that’s all it really is, but it is seven pain filled minutes that would make you rethink every possible reason for why you just put yourself in what seems to be the most pain you’ve ever felt.

Nothing compares to the feel of a perfectly set boat as it glides through water. Imagine the thrill rushing through every vein and nerve that ever existed as you push away from those competing against you. The hunger that eats you alive to want to obtain that gold medal at the end of an exhausting day of racing.

Rowing: When the word is out and floating, many imagine kayaking, or maybe some weird sort of contraption that requires a double sided paddle and someone singing “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat” because that is the usual response that many rowers will get the first time they try to explain their sport. And isn’t it sad that this is the case? A sport that requires you to give yourself solely to pain, complete lack of oxygen, and an unimaginable demand of mental strength, should not go unnoticed. Yet sadly, it pretty much just rides under the current in the mainstream.

The sport is really only celebrated by the world in one place: The Olympics. This means that every four years teams from all over the world gather at one place, to compete for medals and then keep training again. Now this doesn’t mean that there aren’t other huge regattas, an example being the Head Of The Charles in Boston, but once again, when you aren’t indulged in the rowing world there is no way for anyone to know about it. How can a sport that demanding of mental, physical, and emotional sacrifices be denied a spot among the top sports in the world? This is something I will never understand.

Unlike the fan favorite sports of soccer, basketball and even football, rowing is an extremely expensive sport. With all the equipment that is needed, it makes sense why the sport is not so easily accessible. Over $100,000 in just pure equipment (a single eight shell can vary from 25k to 45k) is what is takes, even before getting the athletes in place to race. Now, because of the expenses this tends to be a very white dominated sport, and it is rare to see teams of different races and backgrounds at regattas. Usually my team would stand out above everyone else, when not only was there a sea of ethnicity surrounding a single trailer, but when our boats came down, we stood out.

And to say we were looked at was an understatement. We were not looked at because of our skin, but on the other hand we were looked upon because we were a threat of fierce competition.

And I assure you, there is no better way to be viewed.

Gislaine Garcia 16