BIG CHUBBY kid turned OARSMAN, and now CYCLIST!
It has been a very long time coming and I decided that I will share it. This blog, henceforth will be the working manuscript of my story of life and sport. You may learn from my experiences, read for entertainment, or use it as inspiration to fuel your own dreams. Share your story with me as well, I’d love to hear it.
Explaining the picture:
- Chubby kids don’t usually have the best time at school. After 7 years of that, I figured I had enough and I took up rowing. My story begins there, with occasional flashbacks to key moments and lessons.
At 15, I was 5 feet and 11 inches high. I was also 112kg wide.
- This photo was taken before my final boat race, last month. It didn’t play out how I planned it, but I know now that it was for the best. Over the coming weeks, I will go over the mistakes I made, and will elaborate how you, as an athlete, can learn from them. Not just as an athlete, really. These things are for life.
You wouldn’t be here reading this, unless you are already familiar with sport, but even the most avid sportspeople may not be familiar with this strange sport. In very short, it is a poem of motion. Emerson once said ‘No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing.’ Unless you’re single-sculling, individuality is given up for the sake of the crew. You don’t look anywhere else, you don’t think anything else, you don’t move any way else: when you row, you row.
‘No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing.’Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you grew up an only-child, you’d know how comfortable you become, with your own company. My own self proved to be the most reliable athlete around. It soon was clear that I was cut out for single-sculling. I dedicated the better half of a six-year career to single-sculling, and the lessons I learned were immense.
Sculling is when each oarsman rows with two oars. Sweep rowing is when each oarsman rows with one oar.
The classroom taught me that its own confines is an uneven playing field; that reading and writing these ‘lessons’ is only going to teach me new words; that Willy Shakes was right: ‘All the world’s a stage’ and the classroom only taught me the lines. Nobody learns to act by simply memorising their lines.
I learned more about myself and the world around me, sitting in a boat, that I ever would have, in any classroom. And now that I’m on the other end of things, I know I wouldn’t change a thing, because I know I made the best of many difficult situations, and these difficulties are exactly what made the journey worth its weight in gold. I will share these stories with you in due course.
That being said, classroom grades will ensure you don’t end up living in a lemon with little to no possessions, at 29. Don’t fail.
Have you ever been at a point where drinking in excess of 1.5litres of milk, and downing 7-10 eggs a day was normal routine? Going vegetarian as I entered my biggest year, wasn’t easy. Two years whiz past, and I can look back and think that I had absolutely no reason not to do it. I’ll explain in a separate article soon.
Now that that’s out of the way, I must say that, arguably the most important lesson I’ve learned over 6 years of rowing is one that I will share with you here:
I may sound like I’m blowing my own horn here about every ‘lesson I learned’, but I’ve messed up plenty. I’ve won comfortably, but also lost miserably. You, as an athlete, know that that’s a given in any sport. Besides, I realised that me writing a blog about what I’ve learned, does not translate to me knowing everything about being an athlete. There’s so much left to learn, and there’s a vanishing point to the road I see ahead. It’s that long. I hope that communicating with you will teach me more and help make this relationship mutually beneficial. I meant it when I say I want to hear your story too. It’s a part of the process.