by Betsy Baker, V.P. Women's Athletics, Winter Park High School
posted on May 1, 2001
The skies were clear as a summer's day. Just a whisper of breeze touched my cheek. At last. Here I am..at the boathouse. No, not picking up my rower..It's me!! it's me getting into a boat! Finally!! Oh what a joy to experience those things that I have heard over the dinner table for so long. A 2K? Now that doesn't seem such a far distance. Wait a minute. What are those black bicycles with no wheels? An erg? I thought we came to row? Ok, up and back, up and back.. what can be so hard about that? You mean lean wayyyyy back? Then whoosh!! Flying up the slide, and I don't mean on the playground! I've got rhythm, I've got music. I can do this!! Where are the boats? Where's the beef? You mean we CARRY the boats to the dock? Port is NOT an after dinner drink? Remember that seat number..I'm three, I'm three. I casually glance around, looking for another parent as confused as I am. Maybe if I just act like I know this stuff..an old pro. What was that my daughter said about rolling the boat in? Oh my, this boat is shaking like a wet puppy! Be still my heart! Doesn't this coach know about my arthritis? At the catch..at the finish.. Boy, do I feel like the finish! I'm rowing!! I'm actually rowing. Oh I hope I don't embarrass my daughter. A crab? Don't you get those at Red Lobster?
What an exuberant feeling...such peace, such tranquility. We are a team. I could row forever. How could my blood turn to lake water so quickly? How could this desire laced with hurt and pain, attach itself to my heart in just a few strokes of the oar? Has my life changed? Have I finally become part of the "crew"? How is it possible for something that takes such energy give such pleasure? My life is different. From this moment in time, I have added another sphere to my being. When I ask my daughter "How was crew today?", it will be with a new perspective. Did I row with her vicariously? Was a minute part of me in the boat gliding on just the gossamer layer of water? Did she realize my heart was at the catch with her strong hands?
Days, weeks, years, will pass, but now we share a bond that no distance of time can break. Strong words, spoken in anger and frustration, are an inevitable part of the future. But, on a sunny day, when the breeze kisses my cheek, I will remember... I will remember the newness of life together that gently descended upon the two of us today. For we are the team. We are the crew. We will row through the weeds and mirrored waters of life together..my daughter and I.