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TACKLING FEAR, ONE STROKE AT A TIME


Tai Anthony, recent graduate from Renton High School and rising freshmen at Stanford University, shared his thoughts about the Renton Rowing Center in a speech given during RRC's Annual Evening On The Docks Event.


Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

My name is Tai Anthony McMillan and I am a recent graduate from Renton High School. I have just a few words to share with you all this evening.

So...My journey into rowing felt like someone pressed the fast forward button in life. I first listened to Arshay [Cooper] speak at my school. I then got invited to try it out for the first time that weekend, rowed for a couple days after that and then already began talking with the rowing coach at the college I will be attending this fall. I swear this all came at light speed. I didn’t even know about the sport of rowing a couple weeks before this all happened. I guess my situation isn’t all that unique in the world of rowing.


From left to right: Tai Anthony McMillan, Arshay Cooper, and Olyvia

However, I am still unique. I learned with my time here that my physiology was kinda made for rowing. I mean the sport would prefer me to have a couple more inches in height and be a little more buff but... I haven’t met anyone else who has my arms. My right arm is about and inch and a quarter shorter than my left making me perfect for a starburn seat in an 8. What was a hindrance in other sports became a unique strength that I will never lose. Hopefully.

I also learned a little bit about fear here. At the RRC my biggest fear was falling in the water especially after having fell for my first time a couple weeks ago. It was a slightly traumatizing experience. That morning I decided to put on a long sleeve shirt on top of the tank top i already had on plus a giant sweater and some sweatpants. When I hit the water i felt like i instantly gained 80lbs. I thought for a split second that that was it. No more Tai.

However that experience didn’t stop me from coming back. I still actually preferred to be in a boat on the water instead of being on the land.

The fear of falling in the water was a fear that I knowingly wanted to face every day that I came here.

And when I think about it, there aren't too many places in our community that create that juxtaposing feeling of fear and desire simultaneously.

To be a place where I go there fearfully but also with a desire to be there willingly. This boat house is extremely powerful in that sense.

This boat house pushes people to overcome their fears and become healthier and stronger and be part of something greater than themselves. It’s really special.

I don’t know if your money is often going to Starbucks or something else like that, but I feel like the choice is clear, and an investment of your support would be far more worthwhile and positively impactful here at the George Pocock Rowing Foundations Renton Rowing Center.

Thank you.

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