Rowing: The Hardest Sport at the High School by Gabbi

Not many people know about my sport- how mentally and physically demanding it is, how time consuming and how utterly difficult this activity is. I’m a rower, so every day I’m either on the water, running, using the erg machines, or weight lifting. Crew is seriously under appreciated, because it’s not available for middle schoolers and people don’t sit down on Sundays with their family to watch their favorite team’s race. However, I’m writing this in order to explain how challenging my sport is.

For starters, crew doesn’t have an off-season, we condition every day in the winter, erging and running. We row long distance in the fall and sprint in the spring. Summer is the time for camps, where we learn different rowing techniques with new coaches. We’re downtown for practice from 4:15-7:30 each evening preparing for the next regatta with our boatmates. Early mornings, late nights and busy weekends show that the crew team is more dedicated than any other sport. 

Not to mention the grueling physical aspect of the sport, rowing is a full body workout. About 50% legs, 30% core and 20% arms, we don’t leave anything out. This means that for 6000 meters in the fall, on every stroke for about twenty minutes, we’re putting in maximum effort and not taking any off-strokes. During spring, we go past our breaking points, in order to gain water on the boats in the other lanes. 

Although, you can’t just be in top physical shape if you want to succeed in this sport- you also need to be able to have almost-perfect technique. Bad technique can significantly slow you down, and if you can’t perfect the skill of remaining in sync with your boatmates and perfecting the amount of power you put on a stroke, there is no way you’ll do well. While rowing 6,000 meters for 20 minutes, it is so easy to take off-strokes or to just stop. In order to persevere through the pain, you must be able to exhibit mental strength. For freshmen, it’s not always easy because it takes time to be able to put yourself through the most amount of pain you’ve ever felt for 20 whole minutes. 

My team and I are trying really hard to get people to appreciate the sport. We work hard every single day, and it’s outrageous that people think we’re just kayaking on a river for fun. I’m not saying that other high school sports aren’t hard, just that close to no one at the high school works as hard as us.

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