After lumbering around for thirty minutes on a run, I found the first phase of try-outs for rowing (a week long process) embarrassingly difficult. Jacob and I hadn't met yet - I learned afterwards that he apparently had an easier time having been through some triathlon training. But after muscling out the final 2k ergometer test, we both came out thankful for the opportunity to row at UGA, unawares about the invaluable lessons to be learned behind the oar.
A sprints race, or what I like to call the full-tilt-boogie, consists of 2000m of going to hell and back again. Something drives a crew, an individual, to carry on when there's no gas in the tank. I have heard some people think about nothing, a blank slate; others, the amount of sacrifice it took to have that opportunity to win. The pain game, the war of attrition, whatever you wish to call it - no one is ever handed a gold medal, for all of them have been earned with sweat, blisters, obscene amounts of lactic acid, and that teammate in front of you who is prone to vomit.
As the men and women of UGA's rowing team take on the regional championships (SIRA) this weekend, I'd like to remind ourselves of something that has rang true to my mind after pressing snooze at 5 am. Do today what other's won't, so you can do tomorrow what other's can't. No one wins a race without believing in the value of their time and commitment, and I guess that's why rowing is so hard - every team knows of each other's pursuit of excellence, and in the end, the only difference could be the team who is thirstier.
The lessons I learned with the dedicated individuals on UGA crew is what enables Jacob and I to take on a challenge as big as an ocean. On the water, we learned about raw dedication, focus, and teamwork. Off, the joy in seeing a group of uncommon individuals pursue a common goal. Taking heed the words of our coaches, the love of our friends and family, and the drive to make a difference, Jacob and I are keen to take on the Pacific E-W record of 40 days, made possible by the strong foundation that is the rowing lifestyle.