I've been waiting to announce this for a few reasons. For starters, I didn't want to write about it publicly while it was still very raw to me. Frankly, it's still a little raw, but I have had time to think and plan and reassure myself of my decision. I was also really nervous to announce it to you guys! I'm a little afraid of how you'll react and I want to make sure it's really clear that this was a 100% personal choice and something that I thought about for a while and needed to do for myself.
I decided to stop coxing.
Having crew in my life was amazing. I learned to much about myself from being part of the sport and I'm really, really, really thankful that I had the chance to participate. I had lots of experiences- both good and bad- but each experience shaped me and allowed me to grow as a person.
The Year I Learned to Commit
I was introduced to the sport the summer after my freshman year of high school. There may or may not have been bets on how long I would last. The longest time frame may or may not have been two weeks. I started as a rower. And I was beyond terrible. I loved rowing on the water, but the erg? Ha. 5'3" 100 pound high school prepster couldn't compete with the amazing (and much larger) novice girls.
The Year I Learned to Compete
After a little more than a year of rowing, I switched to coxing and didn't look back! Even though I rowed and competed (in the 3V/4V), I didn't win one medal. My first regatta coxing and my boat won all three of our races. I knew then I had found my calling and I was going to love winning. My crew and I had an amazing year. Super competitive. We dominated races and I felt adrenaline in a way I had never felt before. I was hooked.
The Year I learned to Love
I was hooked on the adrenaline, but I don't think I was really in love with the sport. First semester was great, I loved my teammates and we were racing and competing really well for fall races. When sprint season came along, I experienced losing as a coxswain- something I hadn't had to deal with yet. Fortunately (and miraculously), losing only increased my drive to compete and improve. This is when I realized I really loved the sport. Not just the adrenaline, not just winning, not just the team, not just my friends, not just the coaches. The sport. Rowing. Coxing. Everything. I loved it.
The Year I Learned to Survive
Fall semester of freshman year at Georgetown didn't go as I had exactly planned it to go. I struggled academically for the first time in my life and I was beyond homesick and felt alone and lost. Crew was an outlet. I had friends, I had a distraction, I had something to entice me to stick it out. Being a part of a team was extremely important to me at that point of my life.
The Year I Learned to Befriend
After being a part of the Georgetown team for a year, I found myself with tons of friends. I love every single one of them! The seniors, the juniors, the sophomores, my Little V, and the freshmen. I had more fun as a sophomore than any of the other years combined. Arguably, I may have had the lowest lows crew-wise during this year, but I DEFINITELY had the highest highs as a sophomore. After the school year ended, I was given the opportunity to cox for a group of four of the most fun freshmen at Henley. It was incredible. I really can't even begin to describe the experience. I would never be able to capture the fun, the hard work, the dedication, etc. and give it justice.
The Year I Learned to Let Go
After Henley, I was more energized than ever going into the new school year. I was ready to have fun with my best friends and new friends on the team. It was weird not having some of the old friends on the team, and I had a little trouble adjusting to the shift of the nature of the team. I think I knew at the beginning of the year it wasn't going to work out in the long run, but I chugged along. I made the best of the situation. However, I felt like a little stone had been placed in the bottom of my stomach. Throughout the fall season and into winter training, the little stone grew in size and weight. It was dark and heavy and leaving me sad and sick. By spring, the stone was growing on a daily basis. I felt like it was pushing against my lungs. Each breath felt like a struggle. I could feel myself withdrawing and I was growing angry. I hit a breaking point and decided I couldn't do it anymore and for the first time, I didn't want to do it anymore.
Leaving the sport was extremely difficult. Yet, the first night after I was officially "done," I slept like I had never slept before. I hadn't realized I wasn't sleeping well until I slept for an entire night without waking up once.
I will always have the experiences I had. I will always have the love for the sport. And I will always have the friends I made.
With all this said.... Phew. I am looking forward to going into my last year of college with a clean slate and an open mind.
Sorry for the long post, but I thought it was important to get it all out there in the open!!!