Rowing Is My Happy Place

I am Etnna, 15 years old and row for Mount Baker as a Jr. Varsity girl and this is my rowing story thus far. For most of my life I have played a variety of sports such as cheer, track, and basketball to name a few and have enjoyed taking part in them, but I never really felt connected or good enough as an athlete. Though it may not sound troublesome, it was for me, I wanted to find a sport I was passionate about and could be great in. As a result, I switched from sport to sport not settling; hoping I could find at least one I would love, but the sense of fulfillment never came, until I joined a summer program at Lakeside High School.

Etnna and her teammate during core exercises at Mt. Baker Rowing and Sailing Center.

Being a determined student I hoped that the enrichment program would advance me in my schooling. As one of the requirements in successfully completing the program participants had to partake in the rowing portion. During these few weeks, I found a big interest in the sport and always looked forward to the days we got to go out on the water. At the end of the program we had a rowing regatta where a member from the George Pocock Rowing Foundation (GPRF) was present and gave information on how we could continue rowing as part of a team.

With the interest and enthusiasm I had grown for the sport, I spoke to my parents explaining to them how thrilling the sport was and that I wished to continue with it into the Fall season. Proceeding with this plan my mom got in contact with Karla, the lady from GPRF who was at the regatta and found that it be fit for me to row with the Mount Baker Crew.

On Monday, September 11th, I had my first practice with the Mount Baker Novice girls. I was overly eager and nervous throughout the whole day at school making me very impatient. Arriving at practice I was confused and a bit overwhelmed, but nonetheless excited. While everyone there seemed nice it had still taken me some time to warm up to them, on the other hand as time went by I became more sure of my love for rowing. However as the season continued I got to know the girls and our coaches making the rowing experience even better.

Becoming a rower really brought out things in me I didn’t know or was not necessarily sure I had within myself. For example, my determination and mental strength, in this sport one needs to be determined and mentally strong to push through and know that the race or piece will be finished no matter the pain or what the voice in your head is telling you. It has also taught me important skills, like teamwork and communication.

I believe that I still have a very long journey as a rower and I still have much to learn, along with many great experiences, drawing from the fact that I have already learned a lot in just the short amount of time.

As I have said, rowing is and will be for a long time my happy place.

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