I’ve got a race in a few hours, and I’m going to be honest: I’m dead nervous. It’s not that I’ve been in hundreds of races, both rowing and coxing. I’ve raced national teams, club teams, international teams. I’ve raced all across this country, out of this country. I’ve won and I’ve lost.
The thing is, I’ve just started coxing for this team. My dream team, actually. I grew up near the Cooper River which, if you don’t know, is a hot spot for this sport. I grew up watching races and knowing that I wanted to do this sport. I remember my first day on the water, on a freezing February day, and coming home to find ice between my toes. I remember my first race, and how my stomach jolted the entire row up the Schuylkill. We won that race, and I remember the first hug my coach gave me on the shore.
I remember being 12 and watching this team race, seeing the letter on their backs. When they won, their coaches didn’t hug them- they expected it. The only visible emotion was disappointment when they lost races, always by a few inches. I’ve wanted to be on this team since that moment, have tried for years. This summer I finally got a try out and made the team. Today is my first race with them.
I’ve relished every moment of waking up at 4 am to drive to Boathouse Row, loved shoving from the dock onto perfect glassy water. I’ve even loved gliding under the bridges and steering around trees that wash into the water after storms.
I have a bunch of pre-race rituals that I always do- short runs, listening to certain songs, watching a particular clip from Every Given Sunday (hence the title), and watching rowing videos. It’s like I have to completely smother myself in rowing in preparation. I realize that a lot of people don’t know much about what I do, so I’m posting a couple of videos. The first is the Athens Olympics Mens 8+ Final, and the second an awesome commercial out of Germany. So enjoy, cross your fingers for me, and hope that I don’t have a heart attack on the line.