Weepily we roll along

Ach, how embarrassing. We didn't row outside tonight because the gasoline that fuels the coach's boats floated away in the rain and wind over the weekend. I had not been on an erg (rowing machine) since April, I think. I am getting over a cold, reacting to the high mold count in the world nearby, have been anemic for at least a year--pile on, pile on, the excuses, Sando. I'm being tested for a second blood cancer. What else? I am a wimp. In the past I thought that when I was itching a lot from exercising, and I felt weepy, that that was a signal to stop. But I don't know now. It was so very very hard to row hard and quick. Coach B came by a few times to see how I was doing--if I was overheating, getting itchy. I got up at one point and bit a hydroxyzine tablet in half, and swallowed the half. It was just so hard hard to pull and push with my legs, knowing always that I am the slowest person, the weakest person, in the whole group. I swear, once this large, out-of-shape-looking woman came to see what our team was, and she got on the ergs and rowed much faster and harder than I. Tonight it was so tiring so very tiring, it shouldn't be that tiring, should it? And yet how could I complain, when Coach J just did the marathon? Wasn't that hard? The thing is they do these hard things and I don't like to do them. Coach S used to push me push me to keep going and then I would have asthma for three days. But I survived. The whole problem with doing your all is that next time you'll have to do your all again and then some. Better numbers.  At least when we're keeping score. Coach B said to stop if I needed to and I wanted to tell her about the anemia and bone-marrow biopsy but I didn't because what would that fix? They are excuses, perhaps reasons. But I know tonight I wasn't crying because I was overheated or itching. I was crying because it was so difficult, so unpleasant, and so tiring, and I felt so sorry for myself. When I finished Coach J said something encouraging. I feel I am the team's goat. Just the goat. I am the goat.

The boat goat.

S hadn't been able to row for a year and when she came back the other week, she said after practice: You must be getting better because the coaches didn't tell you to slow down your stroke. Personally, I think this is a left-handed compliment. But I am not the worst rower on the team. But close. I have rowed with the novices a couple of times, because I missed a rowing practice with my peers, the masters. We are the masters because of time. I think after a season on the water, one is a master, automatically. So Woody Allen's quip about most of all you need to show up, that's accurate here. You are rewarded for your longevity. For making it through a season. When I was rowing with the novices, I was amazed that so many of them were proficient--much more proficient than I was my first five years. And as proficient as I am now. How could that be? Perhaps they are coordinated. That is a possibility. The mystery, and I can't figure it out, is why I continued to come to practice for eight years, when it wasn't fun for most of that time. At Passover last year S and J asked me about rowing and I told them that I didn't do it to be with the other members of ROW (I like them but have a tendency to feel alienated in general, and I don't do much outside of practice with the team, like go to regattas and such), that I didn't particularly like rowing, and they laughed and asked me why I did it. Like that Jewish joke with this punchline:  It's only a hobby. 
Posture is important while rowing.


Cancer Bitch said...

To read more about rowing machines/ergs:

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