One time, I e-mailed the Chapman Crew coach to see if I could come to a practice, and then I rowed religiously for two years of my life. It's kind of a funny story.
I came to college looking for something exciting that I could put my time and effort into, other than my classes. I'd had a freakin weird summer, and I was kinda ready to just throw myself into something completely new and fulfilling. I thought it was going to be Greek life, but I lost interest in my sorority in like .4 seconds, and dropped it. I'm not usually a quitter, but I am when there are that many bonding activities. If there's one thing that will drag me to hell one day, it's bonding activities.
When I came to my first crew practice, I was both barely awake and super alert (which is how I spent all subsequent 8:30am classes), trying to figure out who was who, what they were teaching me on the rowing machines, and why every time I thought I was pulling really hard, my numbers kept decreasing. I learned later in the week that the smaller the number, the better you're pulling. 4am is early to learn things, okay?
Obviously, one week is too early to figure out if you love a new sport, especially since we hadn't gone out on the water yet. It was just rowing on the ergs, and conditioning with extremely challenging land practices at the campus football field for the first few weeks. In that time, I got to know, and absolutely love my teammates; hard workouts and early mornings are the best way to bond with a new group of girls. Maybe Kappa Alpha Theta should have tried that instead.
Now that I had fallen in love with my team, I had a better chance to fall in love with the sport, and I did. I was so fulfilled by the workouts, which challenged me more than any sport I'd ever done in my life. I literally put my blood, sweat, and tears into rowing. A lot of times I hated it, and wished I had a little more sleep in the mornings, or that Saturday regattas didn't make me want to fling myself off the dock. But mostly, I was super into it. It's highly rewarding in so many different ways: you can feel yourself improving in the boat, and you can literally see your growth on the screen of an erg, which times you per 500 meters. After a 2K test, my team and myself could be found on the floor of the boathouse, sometimes crying, or vomiting, but always relieved that those 8 minutes from around 5:15- 5:23am were goddamn over.
Two of my teammates, Katie and Lexi, became some of my best friends, and practically took me under their wings for these two years. They just graduated in May, and college will never be the same without them, so I am going to Prague this Fall to forget that they won't be at Chapman when I return. Actually, I'm studying abroad, but that feels like a large and valid reason for it.
The three of us together were definitely able to make the mundane parts of crew into a party, which was sometimes not smart of us, but everything always turned out fine! Our combined men's and women's team was so overly dramatic at all times that it was impossible to have a boring night with them-- someone was always stirring the pot. Morning practices were no exception. We all became a messed up yet hilarious family pretty quickly, and I saw way too much of them all, but that's what made the whole thing so much fun. I can't imagine that I would have stuck with a sport that early in the morning if my teammates were anywhere near boring!