Wednesday, July 1, 2020

A Poem for Women's Crew: Demanding and Beautiful

The era of COVID has been characterized by tons of numbers, stats, polls and more. Some require critical interpretation and others, well—not so much. I would like to read one that reports the number of Americans who have organized and reorganized their closets, desks and drawers. Is it nine out of ten? Ten out of ten?!
The varsity program at ND is for women's crew only. They are outstanding athletes.

A friend shared an article—clever title and of little surprise. SF Gate reports, One of the hottest reservations you can get right now isn't for a restaurant. Where might that be? Goodwill, Salvation Army and so forth. Tessa Mclean writes, "The last time David Watterson saw people donating this much clothing was in the heyday of Marie Kondo. Driven by the Japanese organizer's message to only keep the items that spark joy in your life (first with her book in 2014, then a Netflix show in 2019), thrift stores across the country saw a huge uptick in donations." I dropped off a box of housewares yesterday. 

I took a fairly fine tooth comb through my files and came across a file labeled "ND Crew." A four year rower at the University of Notre Dame, I loved my experience as a (club) student athlete. My affection for the sport was made visible in what I read and what I wore. One of my most cherished awards is the "Most Improved Oarswoman" from my sophomore year on the varsity squad. Through crew, I made lifelong friendships. I am so grateful for the opportunity afforded by rowing to travel throughout the eastern and southeastern United States. Ah the stories.... Thanks to rowing, I was hired to work at St. Ignatius College Prep where I coached girls' crew for two years (which made me appreciate my rowing coaches that much more....not easy!!). It seems that a lot of college students give rowing a shot—and I'm glad they do. 
Some stay, more leave. It's a demanding sport but it's a beautiful one. 

And if I had to describe rowing in two words it would be: demanding and beautiful. I suppose that is why I wrote this poem. Scratched onto a large Post-In Note (2 pages), I wish I had taken a photo of this ode to Women's Crew. Instead, I captured the text for this blog. All the rowers out there will understand the language I speak. Those of you who were my teammates, this was our vernacular. I would like one more 7:00 a.m. breakfast together at the head table in South Dining hall to share these memories. I don't feel like thanking COVID for anything right now, but the time and space to organize, read and reflect, how can I not say that is a most (un)welcome grace. Enjoy

Poem for Notre Dame Women's Crew
Ready all…row!…Ringing alarm clock at 5:00 a.m….Run to the parking lot and back…R-u warm yet?...Row huge…Row like this is your last piece of the day…Row like HELL…Row easy…Relax… Run it out….Rivalries…Requirements: dedication and determination….Rigorous workouts…Rock solid…Raw power: Women’s Crew.

Ongoing commitment…On the water…Open blister…On this one….One seat up, let’s go for two seat….One more, you know you’ve got it in your, now let me see it. On fire with primal power. Out of our puddles….off the water. Women’s Crew.

What a feeling….Wonder….Wow! What a rush! Wake off bow…What a row! Willpower…Weights…Working together—all eight as one….Waiting for results of a race…Who are our biggest competitors? Which schools are we going after in this race? That a glorious morning to be out on the water…Willingness to give it your all…Wanting it more than other crews….  Women’s Crew.

Intensity….In two and one on this one....In our puddles, give me more. I want to see more! Internal struggles…Injuries…Internal concern….In your head picture victory….Into the last 500 we’re going up for 10….In your face…Inspiration….Intelligence… Insanity? If it is as easy everybody would do it…In your legs, feel the burn….Women’s Crew.

No holding back—give it all you’ve got. Nerves of steel…Not tonight, I have crew in the morning. Nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. Never took back…Noticeable…Nobody does it better….No one person is the team….Not one bad stroke…No dipping at the catch….Never before have you seen such power….Women’s Crew.

Going for more….Getting up in time to see the sun get up. Gearing up for races—carbo loading…Give me bow woman in three….Getting stroke rate up…giving 110%…GUTS, Glory, goin the extra mile, get tough, get crewed. Women’s Crew.

Photo Credits
ND Women's Rowing

No comments:

Post a Comment