The 9th Seat
I started rowing specifically becoming a coxswain after a serious injury from soccer. I wanted a sport with a position that would require the best of my mental abilities without requiring the best of my physical abilities. Coxing brings out my best qualities. It brings out my leadership expertise, my organization skills, but most of my all my ability to bring people together regardless of their background. It has also shaped the way I approach challenges. I now use strong judgment and a clear head instead of acting on impulse and emotions. Coxing has made me a stronger human being, but it has also tested my patience and perseverance when things go amiss. During my first ever week on the job, I had crashed a boat into the dock. Not a great first day for the team...and my confidence. It took weeks of learning and telling myself that I will get better until I finally did get better. And by the time race season arrived, I was ready to win. But, the moment our boat was lining up for our first race, one of the rower’s seats broke down. I had to think quickly because we were T-2 minutes till the whistle blew. I pulled out my tool box and started fixing the seat in front of me. I could smell the nerves from the girls in the boat from a mile away and I knew I had to calm them down, but also fix the seat. I sat hunched over the rower in front of me, whispering soothing words and praise into my microphone as I fastened the seat in front of me. By the time I finished, the whistle had just blown...it was go time. On that eventful day in March, my boat managed to snatch first place. Coxing is not a stroll by any measure. It requires incredible mental toughness, an enormous amount of patience and perseverance, and the ability to bring 8 nervous girls together. But in the end when you cross the finish line, first or 50th...it is truly all worth it.