Saturday, January 29, 2011


The last couple of days have been... emotionally tumultuous and this is all I have to sum it up. After a meeting with my academic advisor and the coaches and fellow captains of the crew team, the book I borrowed from Professor Snyder seemed strangely appropriate. Storms. I thought I'd made my decision to leave the team but I almost started bawling at the meeting with the thought of never rowing again and leaving everyone so I'm taking until Friday to decide.

There's a brief moment when everything is so well-timed and balanced that all one can hear is our breath and the breath of the boat as the muscles and breaths churn to slide the boat over the water. But in the world, there is more to life than rowing. The people in Eyes of the Storm never thought their homes would be wiped from the earth like complex math from a blackboard. There's a boy in there who had to decide if he could leave his dog, probably to die. People living on their roofs begging for help.

I don't want rowing to be sacrificed for something I could fail doing. I do not want to fail. I can't put all my chips on the line to pursue "photojournalism" if I continue rowing. Last night I read in Vanity Fair about a girl who's making purses now after trying other things and skirting what always drew her the most. She said only after she realized it was OK to fail that she pursued her love of... purses.

Coach Freddie said, "Jesse, you're the kind of person who needs 36 hours in a day."
If only, if only.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat."

-Theodore Roosevelt

There will always be those with more talent, those with greater raw tools but hard work closes the gap to the more talented, you just have to want it more than they do, work harder than them, plain and simple. Claw, scrape, and bleed to get the job done. Treat your talents as the special gift they are, treat your relationships with the love and care they deserve - in the end relationships are all we have. Give everything, follow your heart. Risk. Put all your chips on the line...that's when we live. Chase your passions, do the the thing that makes you come alive, do the thing you are not sure you can do. Do that and you truly live. Do that and you have already won.
-Josh Cox, elite marathoner

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