Sunday, July 10, 2011

Every End is a New Beginning

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.


Sophomore Year
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. 


Junior Year
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.



Senior Year
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.



Freshman Year
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.



Sophomore Year
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.






Junior Year
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!!!

xoxo

25 comments :

  1. Sometimes the decision to let go is the most important one you can make... Here's to new beginnings!!

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  2. just doing whatever you feel comfortable in is important. as a high schooler, i want to start dedicating myself to a sport that i don't happen to be HORRIBLE at. maybe rowing will be just that!

    ...plus the boys in crew are just drop. dead. gorgeous.

    much love,
    jamie

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  3. Aw! As a collegiate coxswain as well (at George Mason!) I find this very sad, but I hope for the best! One of our coxswains quit during the spring season so I know how this feels. Good luck your senior year!

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  4. As long as you're happy your followers are (well... should be) happy for you! You have a lot of really great things going for you and I'm looking forward to hearing all about them in the future. Congrats on a great crew career and cheers to all of the future endeavors I'm sure you will pursue!

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  6. What a heart-felt post! I think it's great!! You've had such amazing experiences but it sounds like it really is time for a change. I can't wait to read about all of your fun new adventures...

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  7. New beginnings are wonderful. Just the fact that you had that feeling in your gut...you made the right choice. You will never find anything to "replace" it and you will carry the great memories of the times you loved it.

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  8. I know exactly how you feel, I rowed for 2 years for a very competitive team. As much as I loved the sport, there came a time where it stopped being fun and was taking up too much of my life. It was hard but I think it was for the best.

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  9. Although I read your blog every day I don't think I've ever loved a post as much as this one. I've been considering quitting riding horses for a few weeks now and this gave me the courage to finally tell everyone that I'm close to that I'm quitting after 11 years. Thank you! Good luck xoxo.

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  10. Good for you for making the (tough) decision that was right for you. Lots of people make themselves really unhappy by staying in situations they hate...you should be proud of yourself for being strong enough to know what's best for you.

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  11. When I saw the title, I was worried you were going to stop your blog. As a crew fanatic myself, I know how tight of a family it is. We lost 17 of our seniors this year and all sobbed on the last day. As a freshman, this was really hard for me. I respect your decision so much because I know how much of a commitment and I know how much heart is put into the sport. Good Luck in whatever you choose to take on next!

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  12. This was obviously a difficult decision for you but I think you got a tremendous amount out of rowing and you seem happy with your decision. Good for you, you'll find other ways to compete!

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  13. Everything you described is so perfect to the structure and how I became engulfed in rowing. I began much like you, my freshman year of high school, wondering if I'd ever last. That same year my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Crew was everything for me, it was the family I needed, the friends, the excuse to forget about everything else and just throw it all down on the water. And like you, after many years of rowing, it all became to much. I lost the love, and my life began to change.

    The thing I have always known about rowing, and rowers in general, is that we're all part of this unspoken cult. Perhaps because we all understand how crazy it all is, waking up far to early for a race that will last seven minutes, the blisters, the competition between boats, everything. We will always have each other, as rowers, anywhere we go we will have those bonds. Once you're in the sport, you never really fully leave.

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  14. So glad that you worked through it and out of it. You have now let it go and can freely move on. What great experiences you have had that will help you as you enter the working world, too!

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  15. I quit rowing for a year in high school(I also rowed in Florida). I didn't want to put the effort in for the girls in my boat(you know the usual high school crew drama)I came back for the second half of my senior year and it was the most amazing sprint season ever. Perfect time to come back but I don't regret the decision to quit for a year and I don't regret the decision to not row in college

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  16. wow I can imagine it must be a really hard transition in your life-I'm sure you will be able to get through it though and you have so many wonderful memories to look back upon.

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  17. this is amazing! so excited for you to experience senior year and now have more time to explore opportunities and activities you WANT to do. :-)

    happy for you! xo

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  18. Good for you! I know how tough it can be; I left my sport after my junior year (along with the $85,000 scholarship and stipend). I realized I wasn't going to the Olympics and that by not focusing on life after college and holding on to a fantasy life in sports, I was trying to postpone growing-up and extending a fantasy that was going to hurt me more in the end than help me. I also know of a lot of folks in CT and NY who row after college with dreams of making the Olympic team... they are in their 40s and still talking about it as if they are in their 20s. Anyway, you're very clever and talented and you will end up right where you should like I did. Best of luck.

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  19. As a rower, I understand the emotions that went into your dicision. As sad as it is to leave a great sport, there are so many opportunities in the world for hard workers like yourself. Good luck and can't wait to see where life takes you.

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  20. Thanks for sharing Carly. I love how you can see your growth through the entire cycle of your rowing years. Sounds like you made a great decision. I look forward to hearing about your senior year!

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  21. Good Luck, Carly! Here's to all the new beginnings you'll find towards the end of your college journey!! xo

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  22. Good for you Carly! I can imagine how difficult this decision was for you to make, but being a rower myself, I completely understand how stressful and demanding rowing can be. I actually started reading your blog after my second day of rowing ever. I googled my first name and the word "rowing" and your blog was the first result to appear. Hopefully you'll find something else to love and devote yourself to as you did coxing, and you can always go back to crew if you change your mind. Your decision will give you a ton of room in your schedule to explore new pathways and try new things that you may not have had the opportunity to do had you continued to cox.

    Thanks for sharing & best wishes!! (Also thanks for all the great advice you've provided in College Prep since I started reading. I'm glad I stumbled upon it).

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  23. Same feelings here, and it's so funny that I wrote a post very very similar to the one you've written - except I was a rower!

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  24. It takes an immense amount of courage and strength to leave something as consuming as rowing. Not a single one of us can say that we haven't thought about it at one point. I wish you luck and continued happiness.

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