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Descriptive Essay: I didn't choose rowing, it chose me.

The feeling I got in my stomach was twisted, cringeable, and overwhelming.  As I stepped out of the deep blue Volkswagen, the energy in the air was tangible. I could feel the tension I had in the air all around me. It was quite beautiful, the way the grass swayed in the wind and the sound of the river flushed again the docks. I’ve never been on a boat before, so getting into a small, claustrophobic crew boat probably wasn’t a bright idea. But then again, Quid Pro Quo, I had to do this. I went to California, and I gave my word, I always stick to it.

My aunt signed me up for this two week rowing camp and I dreaded it. The day of, I rolled out of bed not changing out of my pajamas until five minutes before leaving. My family and I have dreams of me going to UC Berkeley, Stanford, Duke, UPenn, and so on. I’ve always bugged them trying to find a sport I like, and they thought rowing would look good on my application. I was always told to try it, or to give it a shot. Not until last summer, did I even think about it. I wanted to visit my other family in bright and sunny California, across the country, and the only way my aunt agreed, was if I tried this two-week rowing camp.

“Have a good day sweetie, and remember you try it once, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want!” my aunt said, as I slowly made my way away from the car towards the sparkling, blue Schuylkill river that lay ahead of me. I thought to myself “Let’s just get this day over with Mar.” The smell of fresh water, trees, nature, and sweat all filled my nose as I walked toward the crowd of people who were also doing the camp. It made me nauseous. The kids sat on the prickling grass with big smiles on their face, as if it were their birthday or the last day of school.

Rowing is an art, the finest art out there, and when it reaches you, when it touches your soul it changes your world. Crew is a sport that controls your mind and your body. It’s a dream where pain and pleasure collide. I didn’t choose rowing, rowing chose me.

Everything from then on is only but a blur. The way that the oars hit the water, splashing it gently, and moving my legs in perfect synch. The lines of symmetry, the colors of the trees that I passed by. Ever since this first moment, I’ve been rowing non-stop for a year. To find a passion, and devote your mind and body to it is something not many people experience. I can’t see a person in life becoming successful or happy without giving everything he’s got to make it happen. A true passion is finding something you love, and not being able to imagine life without it. I can’t remember what exactly I did, or why I even got up in the morning before rowing. It’s that particular drive to do something out of your comfort zone or to push yourself forward. I’ve become obsessed with rowing, and I wish that everyone could love something as much as I’m able to love this sport.

Sometimes, you do something you regret, or wish you didn’t, but sometimes just by chance you find something that shakes your world upside down. It was as if my heart finally chose what it loved. Rowing is not something that you choose, but more like it chooses you. Waking up 3 hours earlier, and going to bed at 9 o’clock, eating like there’s no tomorrow, popping the blisters that fill my hands, so much pain in my hands that I can barely wash my hair. These things are why people ask me why I row.

But that’s not it. Why do I row? The reason I row is that feeling I get during a race. When sitting at the start waiting for the coxswain to scream “ROW” before I glide off onto the river, 500m, 1000m, it’s a game of inches. Adrenaline flies through my veins, all eight in perfect synch, catch stroke slide. Large needles in our thighs, our arms going to fall off, and that feeling, that particular feeling when you have 200m to go, where you know you may not make it to the finish line, you might die first. As individuals we pulse together as one, we push drive soar; finally we get past the finish line. The pain in our bodies stabbing us, as we glide with our oars on the water. We’re done. The reason I row, is for the best worst feeling in the world.



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