Being Put to the Test
Photo by Lucie Webb
By Marissa Parks
The first thing I noticed when coming to the boathouse and meeting all the ladies on the team was how inviting and happy they all were; that alone made me want to come back to practice the next day, and later on, join the team. I have waited in anticipation to be on the rowing team at CSULB. For a long time I have pictured myself rowing and competing in the sport, and now I could tangibly have those experiences.
After combining rowing on the water and the use of erg machines for about four weeks, it was time for me to take my first erging test. There was no way for varsity to fully explain to us what the erging test felt like or how we should prepare for it. Nonetheless, I came that morning ready to take the test, mentally blindfolded for what was about to come.
Once I saw varsity take their seats on the erging machines and heard the command, “Ready, row,” I was honestly terrified with what I saw. I could not believe how fast these ladies were going. I was thinking, what? Are these women even human? Do I have to actually do that too? I had never seen people push themselves so hard before in a sport. It scared me because I could finally see what I could potentially go through while pushing myself as hard as I could during the test.
While I erged, my mind wanted to quit so many times, but my body was telling me to keep going. People were yelling behind me left and right, motivating me to keep going, to have a steady stroke pressure, not rush, to have good posture; I could tell that varsity wanted all of us to succeed and see how far we could push ourselves.
I am always learning how to row better and am challenged on a daily basis with new techniques and observations. I am excited for the race on Sunday, and no matter what happens, I am willing and ready to know what it feels like to be in my first rowing race. I just have so much joy and excitement to be on this amazing team, full of people who have come together to have fun, to compete, to learn from each other, to be patient, and to connect and make lasting friendships.