RI Blog #9: Motivation

Motivation

April 30, 2008

It recently occurred to me that I’m entering my 24th rowing season, and I did not row in college. That is absolutely terrifying. “Midlife” is loosely defined as that point in time, usually at around 3 AM, when you face the stark realization that the number of years you have to look forward to is less than the number of years you have to look back on. However, given that definition, my “rowing midlife” is still far away, as I plan on 1) rowing until I die; 2) not dying at least until I’m well past 90; and 3) maintaining roughly the same quality of life that I have now. Ok maybe #1 is a little unrealistic. Let’s say I row til…say…85. That still gives me 37+ more years of rowing, putting my official rowing midlife at age 55 (do the math, 60 years of rowing, add 30 to age 25…). Hell, I’m a young’un! I turn 48 this summer, a whole 7 years away from my rowing midlife. And yes, I plan on winning my event in the Head of the Charles every single year after I turn 80 because I’m guessing there will be, at most, only 2-3 other competitors my age and my handicap will take care of the rest.

So the question gnawing at me today (and every season, actually) is, how in the hell do I stay motivated to keep doing this sport? I mean, what are we doing out there but the same thing, over, and over, and over. Sitting ass backwards and lurching our neck around every minute or so to make sure we don’t kill ourselves. As my dad’s squash coach in college said, looking over at the rowers, “I’ll never understand a sport where you can sit on your ass, go backwards, and WIN.” (Forgive me if I’ve used that in a previous blog…too senile to remember…too lazy to check.)

The answer is, for this masters rower, complicated. I think about rowing all the time, morning, noon and night. I love it so much that I think about it all winter. I think about it mostly when I’m not doing it. When I am doing it, I’m almost always as content as I can be, even when I have the dreaded crappy rows. Often I’m beyond content, existing in a state of complete fulfillment that nothing else can come close to. AND YET, I still struggle daily with motivation. Last Sunday was a perfect example. I had planned on showing everyone how awesome my newly weight-lifted muscles could propel me in my newly just-figured-out-how-to-row-in-it borrowed Van Dusen. Our Club, the estimable Riverside, held its annual Crusher Casey Challenge (CCC) Opening Day Race and Breakfast. I LOVE my club’s events, primarily because I love my rowing club. But I had stuff going on that weekend, it was supposed to be cold, and I went to bed late on Saturday night, lacking the proper “I’m getting up no matter WHAT because I’m gonna kick some ASS tomorrow!” attitude that is mandatory for racing. So I missed it. And of course, the water was absolutely perfect and it wasn’t that cold.

So I guess that’s the answer to “what motivates me:” Perfect water, or, the tremendous pain and remorse of not benefiting from perfect water on a gorgeous morning or evening. Any schmuck (sorry Howie) can blow off rowing when it’s windy or rainy. But it takes some real stupidity to blow it off when the water is good. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, worse than seeing perfect conditions on the Charles and knowing I did not enjoy the sensation of propelling my single through that gorgeous water. Speaking of which, this week marks the first time that we’ll have several consecutive days of good weather. So….gotta fill the water bottle and run! The river awaits.

Motivation

April 30, 2008

It recently occurred to me that I’m entering my 24th rowing season, and I did not row in college. That is absolutely terrifying. “Midlife” is loosely defined as that point in time, usually at around 3 AM, when you face the stark realization that the number of years you have to look forward to is less than the number of years you have to look back on. However, given that definition, my “rowing midlife” is still far away, as I plan on 1) rowing until I die; 2) not dying at least until I’m well past 90; and 3) maintaining roughly the same quality of life that I have now. Ok maybe #1 is a little unrealistic. Let’s say I row til…say…85. That still gives me 37+ more years of rowing, putting my official rowing midlife at age 55 (do the math, 60 years of rowing, add 30 to age 25…). Hell, I’m a young’un! I turn 48 this summer, a whole 7 years away from my rowing midlife. And yes, I plan on winning my event in the Head of the Charles every single year after I turn 80 because I’m guessing there will be, at most, only 2-3 other competitors my age and my handicap will take care of the rest.

So the question gnawing at me today (and every season, actually) is, how in the hell do I stay motivated to keep doing this sport? I mean, what are we doing out there but the same thing, over, and over, and over. Sitting ass backwards and lurching our neck around every minute or so to make sure we don’t kill ourselves. As my dad’s squash coach in college said, looking over at the rowers, “I’ll never understand a sport where you can sit on your ass, go backwards, and WIN.” (Forgive me if I’ve used that in a previous blog…too senile to remember…too lazy to check.)

The answer is, for this masters rower, complicated. I think about rowing all the time, morning, noon and night. I love it so much that I think about it all winter. I think about it mostly when I’m not doing it. When I am doing it, I’m almost always as content as I can be, even when I have the dreaded crappy rows. Often I’m beyond content, existing in a state of complete fulfillment that nothing else can come close to. AND YET, I still struggle daily with motivation. Last Sunday was a perfect example. I had planned on showing everyone how awesome my newly weight-lifted muscles could propel me in my newly just-figured-out-how-to-row-in-it borrowed Van Dusen. Our Club, the estimable Riverside, held its annual Crusher Casey Challenge (CCC) Opening Day Race and Breakfast. I LOVE my club’s events, primarily because I love my rowing club. But I had stuff going on that weekend, it was supposed to be cold, and I went to bed late on Saturday night, lacking the proper “I’m getting up no matter WHAT because I’m gonna kick some ASS tomorrow!” attitude that is mandatory for racing. So I missed it. And of course, the water was absolutely perfect and it wasn’t that cold.

So I guess that’s the answer to “what motivates me:” Perfect water, or, the tremendous pain and remorse of not benefiting from perfect water on a gorgeous morning or evening. Any schmuck (sorry Howie) can blow off rowing when it’s windy or rainy. But it takes some real stupidity to blow it off when the water is good. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, worse than seeing perfect conditions on the Charles and knowing I did not enjoy the sensation of propelling my single through that gorgeous water. Speaking of which, this week marks the first time that we’ll have several consecutive days of good weather. So….gotta fill the water bottle and run! The river awaits.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s