official-illuminate asked: Hi! I have a question: if the person in front of you isn't following stroke, should you follow the person in front of you or the stroke seat?
When in doubt, always follow stroke. If that means jamming your oar handle into someone’s back because she isn’t following stroke, sometimes that has to happen. Let that bruise be a lesson: always follow stroke, because stroke seat is never wrong.
(Note: when stroke seat is wrong, hopefully the coxswain will point that out. It is not your job to do that. Unless you’re seven, in which case, proceed with caution)
Anonymous asked: I need advice on a sticky subject: whether I should quit crew or not. I know a lot of people at certain times, especially winter, want to quit crew but lately I've had a lot of anxiety and stress, even some depression about the combination of crew and keeping up academically. I used to really love crew and be excited to improve but my coaches are demanding unreasonable requests about everything, especially time. (1/2)
Throughout my rowing career, I think the most common question I’ve asked myself is what the hell I think I’m doing. Why do my hands look like I’ve dipped them in acid? When will I be able to shampoo my own hair without pain? Why am I picking up this erg handle when the sun isn’t up and I haven’t had coffee? Rowing is a niche amateur sport, so I can’t be here for the long-term money. There is no national rowing league, and it wasn’t a glory sport that my parents pushed me into as a kid. It’s a very private, painful experience that rowers put themselves through… so why keep rowing?
My advice to you could be a bit biased, seeing as I’ve been rowing for five years now, and haven’t quit. I’m half-tempted to write a snazzy inspirational GIF-based piece on why rowing is awesome, and why the truly fortuitous will always charge ahead into each season because they are tough. Alas, in this case, you’ve already answered your own question: you said if you quit rowing, you’d have more time to do activities you’re passionate about. In my experience, what keeps me rowing are my drive, my teammates, and my competitive spirit (along with a healthy dose of crazy). If you really have lost your love of rowing, don’t let it twist into a situation where your dispassion for the sport sparks resentment between you and your teammates.
This week it rained. A lot. Which meant long spandex, layers, slippery handles and hard pieces in inclement weather. I showed up to rainy, grueling practice this week because on some level, I believe the payout is worth that 5am struggle to the boathouse. Rowing is a part of my identity—my teammates are the crux of my support system. I’ve been through so much with these girls, and knowing that my pair partner is getting out of bed makes it easier to pull my spandex on in the morning. The coaches might always be ridiculous, and erging is always nightmarish, but if you want to keep rowing, you have to accept that and find something worth staying for. Whether that’s your teammates, yourself, or some other part of the sport is up to you, but if you plan on making it through spring, I recommend figuring that out soon. I wish you the best of luck, and if you want to contact me personally, anon, email email@example.com.
If you’re in bow 7
If you’re stroke seat:
Bow pair’s like: