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Learn to Row, Row For a Lifetime | Health

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Learn to Row, Row For a Lifetime
Learn to Row, Row For a Lifetime

Sometimes, life is made up of missed opportunities; of doors that closed, opening beautiful windows that offer a new way to see the world. In the fall of 1997, something I didn't get led to something that changed my life. Now, I'm hoping to spread my love of rowing to as many new crew members as I can.

In September 1997, I was a sophomore at Marquette University. I tried out for the play Godspell - and, was one of a handful of people to get called back for the final auditions. Sadly, I didn't get the part - and, I was looking for some other way to spend my time that fall semester.

I remembered the posse of girls in my freshman dorm and their matching Marquette Crew jackets. They seemed like a fun, cohesive group - and, they were in incredible shape. So, I went to a meeting, tried out and made the team. I was a rower (then, I became a coxswain - the loud, bossy one that steers the boat and encourages the team.) When I joined, I had no idea the incredible experience that awaited me. I made some of the best friends of my life in those boats - and, I saw great cities from a view most people never get to see. Three years of early mornings and countless regattas later, it was time to graduate and leave the sport I grew to love behind.

Or so I thought. A couple of years ago, I felt that strong itch to get back on the water.

A google search led me to the Spokane River Rowing Association. Finally, I found my people. I spent that summer on the water with an incredible group of athletes who all shared that same love of the sport. Some are former collegiate rowers, others are doctors and stay-at-home moms and people who have always been fascinated by the beauty of the sport. That's the thing about rowing; almost anyone can learn to do it and, in no time, you can be rowing alongside some of the best.

I missed the season last year because of "reproductive interference" (my son was born the first weekend my team was on the water.) I missed it every single day and I can't wait to get back on the water this summer.

That's where you come in. I want you to experience this sport for yourself. I want you to know what it feels like to glide across the water, propelling a boat by your strength alone. I want you to see the sun rise - and, set - over the bow of a boat. I want you to feel the quiet splash of an oar dipping into the water - and the yell of a coxswain urging you to push across the finish line. I want you to sit behind me while we check out the beautiful homes on the Spokane River. And I want you to get the great feeling I get when people ask - impressed - "You row?"

The Spokane River Rowing Association is signing people up now for the annual Learn to Row program. We row out of Gonzaga's boathouse near Felts Field and you can hit the water in the morning or evening, depending on your class. Will it be hard? Yes - at first. But, once you get it - you'll get it. And, you'll never be the same.

For information and to sign up for Learn to Row, visit our club's website. If you want to ask questions about what to expect, please email me at MelissaL@kxly.com - I'd be happy to help. I hope more than anything to see you out on that water this summer.

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