I never thought I’d willingly sit down and write about how Crew has impacted my life. If I were asked how it affected me, I’d say “It didn’t” or “It was the worst thing I could have done to myself,” but that would only be partly true. Crew is essentially a couple of people stuffed into a boat and forced to try to make it move. The goal is to be the fastest, and I am far from that.
I started Crew last year when a friend said “you have the perfect body for it.” Apart from that creepy statement, I had no idea what rowing was or if I was qualified to do it. My first practice was a fever dream. I was shown around the boathouse by a tall old white man and was still left wondering what rowing was. What I won’t forget is my first time on the water. I was put into a boat with 10 other people and yelled to row until I got my first “crab,” which was sadly not the end of my rowing career.
Some may ask why I decided to stay if I hate the sport so much, and I would say it was my competitiveness and the people. I hadn’t done a sport in a year so I needed something to hone my competitiveness into. In the beginning, it was fun because I got to chill in boats, play with technique, and have fun. But then we had to do races. See, I would usually love to compete against people at the same level as me because I usually knew how to do the sport. Unfortunately, the problem I ran into was that I hadn’t tried to push myself at all before the race, so we lost. Now I’m not saying it was my fault…but I definitely didn’t help.
Let’s move on to the other reason I stayed, the people. I joined rowing and hated every single person on my team. I had no reason to, I just did. The idea that other people willingly did this sport sickened me. I’m assuming most of the others didn’t like me at first either, because, like I said, I didn’t try much and was part of the reason why we didn’t win races. But, we did have to get along. I was one of two black people on the team, so I didn’t really have a lot of people to relate to. I didn’t make my first friend until I met a small child by the name of Anushka. She went to Skyline so I had no reason to talk to her, but she just sort of started talking to me about a guy she was having problems with and I just sat there trying to give her advice. She would later become one of the only reasons I’m still rowing. She was one of the few people I didn’t hate there and was, and still is, a really good friend.
After making a friend, I realized that I could become friends with the rest of my team. Before I’m called weak-willed for changing my mind so fast (which I am), but it’s not my fault. I saw those people nearly every day and I needed someone to talk to on my team apart from Anushka. My options were very limited. My team was composed of small men I would never go out of my way to talk to, so I just chose to become good acquaintances with all of them. It was going exceptionally well until I met a small boy by the name of Tristan West. Now, I got bad vibes from most of the people on my team but this was different. Every time I saw him or heard him speak, it just enacted an inner rage within me. He wasn’t the only person that I had problems with. His appearance and nature was vile. His aura was evil and his eyes turned children to ice. I also had issues with his best friend. He went by the name of Adam and our “friendship” was very different. It started off normal but as we went from acquaintances to friends, we realized we weren’t very compatible. I would describe myself a year ago as a sort of toxic poisonous frog, but I’d describe Adam from last year as one of those nice turtles that die from eating plastic. From these descriptions, you can see how we didn’t really work as friends.
Falling in love with the sport helped me fall in like with people. After my experience with the psychopaths that willingly decide to row, I now realize I’ve become one of them. Having written about how my life has been saddened by rowing, I can say I’m a real rower. I may be quitting today or next week, but I know that the friends I have made through rowing will last for my entire life and I, sadly, can’t quit that.