Nine Lessons I Learned From Crew

The day I walked into the Campus Center at Holy Cross and noticed that piece of paper on the entrance bulletin board is forever etched in my mind. It was an announcement that the Varsity Crew team would be holding an information session for walk-on candidates. Considering my love for sports and the team atmosphere with which they are associated, I made my way to the Hart Center Gym to check it out. I had no idea at the time, but this decision would prove to be life altering. My time as a rower would transform the way that I viewed myself and others. It provided me with the tools to convert obstacles into opportunities and doubt into certainty. Ultimately, it reshaped the person I was and helped establish a foundation for the person that I would become.

Below are nine lessons I learned from my experience on the Holy Cross Crew Team:

  1. Winning Is A Daily Commitment: A competition is never won or lost on game day. Rather, the outcome is determined during all the days leading up to the race. Winning occurs by achieving the smaller, yet essential goals that enable you to improve each day. These stepping-stones are entirely within your control and will guide your path to success. It is ones persistence and commitment to conquer these daily objectives that makes a champion.
  1. Prioritization Is Imperative To Success: If something is truly important to you, you will be able to make time for it. The phrase “I was too busy” either signifies a lack of interest or is indicative of one’s inability to manage their schedule. Determine what your objectives are and plan your day around them, even if it means forfeiting some of your daily luxuries. All successful people make sacrifices to reach their goals and in the end reap the rewards.
  1. Quitting Is Forever: Oftentimes success comes from simply hanging on and knowing that you will never, for any reason, quit. There are a million ways to rationalize sleeping in, giving minimal effort during a workout, or taking the easy road. However, the people who are focused on being the best know that enduring discomfort is a temporary and necessary part of the journey. Giving up will only haunt you with what ifs. When the idea of quitting has been completely eliminated from your thought process, your probability of victory transforms from “if” to “when.”
  1. Excuses Have No Value: At the end of the day, the outcome of the race is the only thing that matters. The world will never be concerned with how close you came to winning or how much work you put into your craft. These details are left solely with you, the competitor. If you fall short of your goal, acknowledge your shortcomings and work tirelessly to covert them to strengths. Resorting to excuses, on the other hand, will only make you blind to the root cause of your problem and deter further improvement.
  1. If You Don’t Believe You Can, Then You Won’t: You can be your biggest proponent or your own worst enemy. As the gatekeeper of your mind, you have the ability to block out any notions suggesting your goals are unattainable. The world loves to define for us what is possible and impossible. It maps out what is realistic and what is pretense. It is only when the faith you have in yourself supersedes these external guidelines that the sky becomes the limit. To doubt yourself because of pre-existing standards is to forfeit your opportunity to be exceptional.
  1. Winners Surround Themselves With Winners: This formula is relatively simple. If you associate with people who motivate themselves to excel, you will ultimately adopt their characteristics as your own. People come to be defined by those with whom they surround themselves. Spending the majority of your time amidst positive, winning mentalities will reshape your perspective on what it truly means to accomplish something and you will become a far better person because of it.
  1. Champions Always Rise To The Occasion: Sometimes life’s biggest opportunities arise unannounced. They abruptly pop up, leaving little time for training or mental preparation, and whether you feel ready or not you must be able to take advantage of them. When this occurs, know that you are someone who rises to the occasion. Believe in your previous training and experiences. Understand that everything you have worked for has led to the current moment and provided you with the skillset not only to perform, but to overachieve.
  1. Someone, Somewhere Is Working Harder Than You: Although you may be pouring your heart and soul into the perfection of your craft, you can never be satisfied with your results. There is always a competitor who is working a little bit harder. If you are running 4 miles, they are running 4.5. If you are squatting 300 pounds, they are squatting 310. This should be kept in mind each time you work toward your goal. When you feel that you are giving your maximum effort and can’t possibly push yourself any further, remember that someone else out there is. Winners look within themselves and find a way to get to the next level.
  1. Life Is A Gift: There is no sensation greater than the bliss one feels immediately following an ergometer test. As your adrenalin levels return to normal and your body begins to recover, the simple act of lying down takes on a feeling of perfection that is unmatched. The rush of post workout endorphins contributes to the joy of just being. You have accomplished something great. Not because anyone forced you to or you had no other choice, but because you made a decision to better yourself and your team. You decided not to take the easy road, to be content sleeping in or relaxing on a Saturday morning. You wanted something more. We all have the power to live our lives as we see fit. Every day, minute by minute, we write our own stories, scripting the very legacy that we will someday leave behind. To make the most of this opportunity is to accept the greatest gift we will ever receive, and that is nothing short of beautiful.

Written by Eddie Pinero @yourworldwithin