At least once or twice every season, most rowers will ask him/herself “Why am I doing this?”. This isn’t going to be post about the joys of rowing; If you are interested to know why I row then there are endless blog articles on that very topic, including the very specific So, why do we row? Back to the topic in hand though, I recently had one of the aforementioned moments – on Friday to be precise.
There are several things which really play on my mind when I even consider when / if I would ever leave the sport:
- When would I get to see all of the friends I have made?
- What would I do to keep my competitive urges satisfied? (Although this year’s absence of racing has not resulted in any horrendous outbursts or similar!)
- Most of all, how the hell would I keep fit?
I met a former rower friend on the train the other day; It was quite a fortunate meeting actually both because she was working late on a day I happened to be out on work drinks and also because I wasn’t 100% sure if she had left the club or not. Her absence had been noticeable over the last few months but sometimes people drift away for a bit. It turns out she had, sadly for us, chosen to leave rowing behind her. Her reason: she just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. The most honest and frank reason there is and one which everyone should be honest with him/herself about since, after all, we do this for a hobby.
I asked my friend what she did with her spare time: lots of other fitness stuff like running, swimming, zumba. She saw her friends, did a bit of travelling. But mainly, she just had some extra time for herself, enjoying those Saturday lie-ins. She seemed happy and that was wonderful to see. Although I did nag her to come down and visit us one Saturday morning because we missed her!
So, on Friday, when it was getting cold and I was tired, I asked myself if I still enjoyed rowing. At that point, I couldn’t think of anything less pleasant than getting up to row on Saturday. But after some sleep, despite the freezing temperatures (it actually had dropped to zero and I had to de-ice the car!), I was glad to get to the club. I had a really good outing with my crew, who are also my friends. We talked racing strategy for our race today and enjoyed a cup of tea together. Then today, when we were unable to race because of a sudden crew illness, it was all too apparent to me how much I had wanted to get back in to competition and how, for the first time perhaps ever, I really felt ready for a race.
With that in mind, I know I am not ready to lose rowing as part of my life, as part of me. But having seen a good friend actively step-away, it reassured me that if I ever have to or choose to make that choice, there is something on the other side!