BY ED WINCHESTER
PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER
Training is an optimistic act. Implicit in every erg workout and weight session is the idea that you can always get better—that who you are today doesn’t have to be who you are tomorrow. This is what drew me and so many others to our sport, and what keeps me coming back year after year.
This year, of course, is different. The loss of the rowing season is trivial in the grand scheme of what the world is facing. But it was a loss nonetheless, and it raised fundamental questions for the athletes and coaches whose seasons—and in some cases, careers—were cut short. The sudden end to on-water activities was also jarring for those of us who cover the sport. For the first time ever, we were forced to contemplate what rowing would look like without racing.
After a month of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, we are starting to find out. Yes, there was some initial disappointment over what could have been this season, but very quickly we summoned our collective optimism and got back to work.
And work we did. Across the globe, virtual teams logged very real miles. Tokyo-bound athletes streamed backyard workouts. And on every permutation of the erg—static, dynamic, ski—indoor records continued to fall.
All of which means very little next to human tragedy that continues to unfold in communities around the world—ours included. Health worries persist, as do the strain and uncertainty that businesses and organizations across our sport continue to face.
More uncertainty surely lies ahead. But if I’m certain of one thing, it’s that we’ll keep moving forward, one optimistic stroke at a time.