Is there really life after rowing?

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!

3 comments On Is there really life after rowing?

  • It is odd how you have those moments of asking do I really enjoy this? I think sometimes it is good to have a break from something but it doesn’t have to spell the end of it. It is possible to move from competetive rowing to more social rowing, from a younger stronger squad to an older more ‘relaxed’ squad! We’d like to attract more ex rowers back to our club (and have done recently)and we want to say to them you don’t have to train 5 days a week, you can be available less than that and just enjoy the odd session, you might not get the races you want or some days might not get a row because others need the seat more but you don’t have to stop. It is a shame that people who have rowed a lot leave it altogether – I’m all for encouraging a sabatical and then a return refreshed and revitalised!

    • You’re quite right of course Laura. I think the reason I (and many, many others) struggle with that is because of the mental and physical transition you have to make. When you have been training at your ‘peak’ (whatever that peak is) then it’s difficult to watch others improve as your performance deteriorates. Our Men’s Master’s squad is one of Broxbourne’s most active. Not the same for the Women though. What is it like at your club? I do feel there is a general challenge to retain female rowers once they stop competing at a Senior level.

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About Me

About Me

Hello, I'm Angela. I'm Mum to two small people (6 & 3). I'm a Gardener, houseplant obsessed and addicted to tea. By day I work in tech and also look after my littles. I'm trying to get our family to live a more sustainable life. I also have far too many opinions...hence the blog. You can read more about me here. You can also follow me on Instagram for mainly plant spam. Hope you enjoy reading!

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