As follows is my tragic love affair with rowing
I watched a recruiting video for UCSB crew which I received via mass email and needed to give it a further look. People do crew in california? Are there nine girls in that boat? How tall are they? I went to an informational meeting the second week of school and I was won over by the early practices and the enthusiasm of the seniors talking to us. I was at practice next Monday morning at the lagoon ready to give this random sport a shot.
Through all those practices I met my best friends, and I was so thankful to be a part of a team and have that dynamic even in college. By far one of the greatest parts of my high school experience was being on so many great teams and sharing a common goal with my best friends. To have that again in college? I’m all in!
January our practices became more serious (now traveling to Lake Cachuma 40 min away from campus) and our dryland workouts had to be on our own time. We started competing against schools like OCC, Chapman, LBSU, LMU, and got a taste of racing, when all the work pays off. Up until this point I liked being able to see my best friends every morning but something was missing. Rowing was eh. But I was all in, I accepted a position as co- captain and worked my short little legs off to solidify a spot in A boat. But something wasnt right. I wasnt happy.
In an epiphany while swimming for the first time in two months and having an absolute ball it occurred to me that I was having more fun lap swimming alone on a Saturday morning then I ever did rowing. Do I even love the sport I’m devoting 5 hours a day to? I decide to sprint some laps as I feel my heart pounding a little too hard thinking about this question. I exit the pool 20 minutes later distraught- I dont love crew and it has absorbed my entire life
Four of the worst nights of sleep later I knew the only way I could be happy next quarter was without crew. Seeing the passion everyone else felt for the sport I knew I did not deserve a spot in “A boat”, no matter how good my individual stats were. My hear wasnt there, and its unfair to the girls that loved the sport to take their spot and not appreciate it. I had a huge obligation to the team and even after taking everything into account I knew it could not be a part of my life any longer. So I stayed on for spring training camp and the regatta (San Diego Crew Classic) and informed my coach and co captain who were amazingly supportive and kind. At the end of our final day of racing, I called a meeting and gave a resignation to all of my closest friends, one of the harder things I have ever had to do. I’ve never really considered quitting an option in any situation of life, and here I am quitting a sport I put countless hours into where I get to see all of my best friends every day.
It has now been three weeks in my life after crew and I can say quitting was one of the best decisions of my life. Since then I have started practicing with the club water polo team and had time to go swimming every morning. I have time to do things that make me happy. In addition I dont feel like I’m drowning in shallow water with all of my classes, which is a huge weight off my shoulders.
I miss my team, but I am so proud of myself for making such a huge decision and knowing how to find my happiness. My time with UCSB rowing I will not forget.