Lessons Not Taught In Any Classroom

Courtney - Maitland, Florida
Entered on December 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in the sport of rowing. I’ve been rowing for a little over a year now and I’ve learned more in this past year about life itself than I could ever learn in any classroom. Rowing has taught me the art of teamwork, the importance of focusing, and how to be resilient when times get tough. Rowing is my happiness in life.

Most sports are team sports and if one or two people have an “off day” the team doesn’t suffer and can pick up the slack where needed, this however is not the case in rowing. If one of the nine members of the boat doesn’t perform at their best the entire boat suffers. We may be nine individuals but we row as one. We work together in unison to achieve our goals and to me that’s what teamwork is all about.

I can never make it through the day without some imbecile singing me the song “row, row, row, your boat gently down the stream…” I always have to cut them off because I feel they are trying to tell me that rowing is a leisurely activity I participate in after school. The truth is I focus more at practice than I do the entire school day. At practice my teammates and I focus on tedious drills to perfect our technique so we can become more efficient rowers. We don’t receive breaks, it’s drill after drill for three hours. Without our countless hours of focusing in the boat we would not be the team to beat in the state of Florida and one of the best in the nation. And they want to tell me crew is easy?

Rowing has taught me perhaps the most important lesson in life, to be resilient towards tough situations. I’ve learned that “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” and that “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” Last year I was racing at Stotes which is the biggest high school regatta in the world and the main focus of the season. My boat made it to the Grand Finals and we were stoked that we had a shot at medaling at such a prestigious race. We were in last place for the first half of the race and we ended up placing 5th out of 6. This was devastating to all of us who had worked so hard all year long but every girl from that boat is back this year for another shot at a gold medal. I didn’t die that race but I’m definitely stronger because of it.

Rowing to me is like chocolate to a chocoholic, I couldn’t live without it. Through rowing I’ve met some of the best friends I’ve ever had. We make the most memorable memories while we put our bodies through hell, physically and mentally. Crew is time consuming but I wouldn’t trade the time I spend at practice for the world.

Rowing teaches me more than I can put in words and is the ultimate source of my happiness in life. I believe in the sport of rowing.