Rowing – A Precarious Balance

Our neighbor graciously offered me the use of her rowing scull. I had tried it a few years ago and was amazed at how challenging it was. Watching an experienced rower is a like watching a piece of well-oiled machinery; it’s smooth, efficient and fast. In short, it looks easy. It’s not.

I’m not an experienced rower. I’ve only stepped into a scull twice and anyone who happened to see me on the lake yesterday morning can certainly validate my machinery was severely broken. It’s a miracle I didn’t end up overboard.

The first challenge of rowing is getting into the scull. It’s so tippy and without gunwales there is no protection from water coming over the sides. The next step is strapping your feet into the foot holds which is terrifying – talk about going down with the ship! All the while I’m trying in vain to keep the oars tucked up on the bow of the boat, my seat is rolling up and down the rails and the boat is rocking. Having fun yet?

Now that my feet are secured and my seat has stopped sliding I’m ready to tackle the oars. The wooden oars are positioned on outriggers and are possibly twelve feet and cumbersome. 

Suddenly the lake doesn’t seem large enough for me to maneuver a single turn. At that moment my port side oar dips into the water and suddenly I’m tipped precariously to the left. I react by pulling it up but the craft is so sensitive I’m lurched to the starboard side. It takes me a moment to steady the scull and my heart rate.

I’m ready to go. I gently dip both oars into the water and pull, sliding back on my seat. Sweet. I do it again. Okay, I’ve got this. But by my third stroke my concentration has waned and I scuff one of my oars causing me to lose my rhythm and balance. I manage to get control again and make my way up the lake. I had earlier visions of doing numerous laps up and down the lake looking smooth and easy and getting an amazing workout. I completed one lap and congratulated myself about not capsizing the vessel.

This morning I had hopes of getting back on the horse but the water looked a little choppy, not a mirrored surface my lack of skills required. Maybe tomorrow morning I’ll have a little more courage and will try more than one lap.