If I could pick Two Big Things – the significant things I’ve done/experienced that have had the best influence on me, I’d have to pick rowing and having dogs, specifically, Bob and Ray (for the past 14 years combined.)
I rowed at the Argonaut Rowing Club for nearly 10 years as a Master’s (old[er] guy) rower, in a crew of 4, and as well, in my own single scull, Spot. I trained in the 4 most mornings, and the single most evenings. That’s (left to right) Jerry, John, Norbert and myself, with Jen coxing) in the photo at the top of this post. Jerry, John and Norbert continue to row- shame on me.
This was a commitment of about 4 hours a day that started out in the club’s learn-to-row program and progressed to me racing most of the summer in crew, and then into the fall in my single, here, at the Head of the Charles in Boston twice, and in England twice. I started out because I needed some sort of exercise and rowing looked interesting. I certainly got the exercise, dropped about 15 pounds a season, changed my body geometry significantly, met two girlfriends, coached other rowers, and made some friends I still connect with. I’d recommend the sport to anyone looking to get fit, build confidence, relax (if you can believe it when you’re out on the water at 5 AM) and add to a network of friends.
I kept at it until about 5 years ago when I simply didn’t have the time to devote to something you really have to do every day to maintain skill and fitness. Owning a house, walking the dog, lousy traffic from here to the Club, and rising membership fees kept me away from the only sport/fitness activity I’m interested in.
A couple of weeks ago, my single was nearly auctioned off, as the club thought (rightly enough) it had been abandoned. I removed it and stored it in my living room – a sight to see, and to crawl under to get to the other half of the living/dining room and kitchen. 26 feet long, 18 inches wide, and 30 pounds – light, and awkward everywhere but in the water. Bob the Dog was unimpressed. It’s now down in the Cherry Beach area, stored in a boathouse until the spring.
Once again, I’m hoping to get out on the water, though this time on this side of the city, to get fit and lose some weight. And believe me, there’s nothing like a good row on flat water, with the sun coming up behind you, to clear the mind. Maybe I’ll mount a GoPro on the deck to prove my point!