A Team Experience by Sean Michael
“Last 500, boys, let’s do this!”
“Empty your tank! Give it all you got!”
My coxswain yells at us at the top of his lungs, clearly winded but still caught up in the adrenaline rush. We’re three-quarters of the way through our race, five out of seven grueling minutes behind us. Each of our hearts pulsates quickly, struggling to carry oxygen-rich blood to our aching muscles. An internal battle rages in each rower as we enter the final part of the race. We’re all tired, yet our boat glides energetically through the water despite our exhaustion. In this sport, unity is everything: no matter how exhausted any one person is, he has to persist so that the boat doesn't slow down, moving perfectly in sync with the rowers in front of and behind them.
When I started rowing at PCRA in eighth grade, I was immediately drawn to the intrinsic sense of cooperation: the rowers have to move as if they were one person in order to have any chance of success. Having to complete difficult workouts together has imparted the need to finish what I start and given me an enormous sense of companionship with my boatmates, whose fates in a race are inextricably tied to mine. Even though there are times when I lament the four hours a day I devote to rowing, the feeling that washes over me as our boat crosses the finish line is one of immense pride, overwhelming any regrets I may have had.