FROM THE EDITORIAL BOARD
PHOTO BY ED MORAN
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Every rower who has ever laid hands on a pair of oars has a handful of moments that defines their rowing career. For some, it’s a race that captured the essence of their hard work and distilled it into a stellar performance. For others, it’s a season when they walked into the boat bay on the first day of practice and emerged on the last day a completely different person.
These are the moments that define rowing careers. But there are other kinds of moments that we rowers experience—quieter, more subtle moments.
Such as the time when you sat on the bank of the Tennessee River with your teammate and best friend, legs dangling over the water, and you grappled with the fact that signs—much like the red and orange leaves floating underneath you—were pointing toward change.
And the time when you and your teammates strapped oars to the roof of a car and drove to ACRAs, all the while hoping that the bald tires could handle the heat and humidity in Georgia in May. Your coxswain—squeezed into the middle seat—was as tolerant as ever.
What characterizes these moments is not the overwhelming rush of accomplishment or wash of relief when practice is over. It’s the comfort of knowing that someone is there, next to you, and cares about you as much as you care about them—whether or not you realize it at the time.
Indeed, what all these memorable moments share is people. Our sport is defined by many things—technique, strength, power, hard work, endurance, sacrifice—but the thread that ties rowers to the sport ultimately is each other.
This fall, as regattas roared back to life with the same energy and passion as before the pandemic, they reunited us and brought back that comforting feeling of ritual, tradition, and camaraderie.
They reminded us that our wins and losses, though important, are temporary. Instead, it’s the bonds we build as friends and teammates that really matter and will endure far longer than the gleam of any medal.
In this year’s “Best Of” edition, we celebrate a wide range of accomplished members of the rowing community—athletes, coaches, officials, and event organizers— whose extraordinary performance during an extraordinary time makes them and what they achieved even more so.
As we rowers march toward erg season, let’s take care of each other and remember those precious quieter moments spent together, sisters and brothers-in-oars.