1. Only one boat can be the best, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. On any rowing team there is only one top boat, first eight, varsity eight, 1V – whatever you want to call it. But that doesn’t mean the second boat gives up, because you never know when that next seat race will be. Even if you’re not the best at something that doesn’t mean you should give up because you never know when you’ll get your next shot at being the best.
2. The boat isn’t always set, but that’s ok, you have to keep going. In rowing, there are imperfect boats and imperfect strokes and sometimes the boat wobbles and is off keel. That doesn’t mean everyone stops rowing. In life, your plans may not always go smoothly but that doesn’t mean you should stop pursuing them.
3. Sometimes the boat flips, but you have to get back in it. You may take a bad stroke, you may hit some rough water, you may simply have no idea what you’re doing and the next thing you know you’re in the water with your boat upside down. That doesn’t mean you’re done. You’re now in the middle of the river with your boat and you only have one option – to get back in and keep going. No matter bumps in the road you hit, you have to keep going.
4. You can’t always see where you’re going, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. In a boat, the only people who can see where you are going is the coxswain and the bow man. The rest of the boat has to trust that they are steering the best course. In life, more times than not we have no idea where our chosen path has taken us, but we have to trust that it will take us where we need to go.
5. There is no “I” in “boat.” A boat is made up of a group of people who must work together if they want to reach their goal. There is no question about this. If one person in the boat isn’t willing to make a change or go the distance, the boat will fail. Successful crews exemplify teamwork. So do successful people.
6. The little wins count too. A win doesn’t always have to include standing on the awards dock with a gold medal around your neck. Maybe you made the boat you wanted to be in, maybe you made it to the grand final, maybe you just know you had your best row all season – these little wins count too, they are steps to the overall goal. The little wins are what keep us going, what push us to make the big ones.
7. Nothing feels better than that perfect stroke across the finish line. There is no better feeling than a crew coming together, rowing their absolute best and the bow crossing the finish line in a definitive first place. The feeling of accomplishment you get when you cross the finish line, knowing you’ve successfully put 2,000 meters of water behind you can’t be beat. When you succeed, when you achieve your goals, when you’ve made it to where you want to be – nothing can beat that.