I truly did not expect to like rowing, and especially didn’t expect to like trying out my new skills — learned during a one-time training session more than a month earlier — on the daunting waters of the Genesee River.
But flanked by fellow newbies from the Cross Currents Minority Rowing Club on a beautiful September evening, the outing proved surprisingly fun.
Mind you, "don’t rock the boat" took on a whole new meaning. And the panic that grips me whenever I’m around water did strike. My heart skipped a beat if the boat became even slightly unbalanced. But those moments were fleeting and I refused to succumb to them. Throw in a couple of quick prayers and we were A-OK.
The key to boat stability is teamwork. The shell will tip if just one person on either the starboard or port side fails to keep his or her oar afloat on the water surface. As with our initial training, carefully following directions — whether called out by our coxswain, Patricia Rozzo Leadley, or longtime rower/trainer, J.B. BernField, sitting comfortably in a rowboat motoring alongside our shell — kept us moving, turning and just plain set (balanced). We heard "set the boat" a lot.
But when the stern four (of which I was one) hit a stride and our oars rowed in nearly perfect synchronization, I felt such a sense of accomplishment!
Many thanks to J.B., Patricia, Lydia Boddie-Rice and Oscar Pedroso for their patience and cooperation in organizing this experience for my coworker, Tamara Tirado, and me. Kudos to Tamara for being a good sport!
At times like this I feel so blessed to do what I do, and I challenge all of our readers to take on their fears. I’ll bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part two of Jiménez’s rowing adventure with Staff Photographer Tamara Tirado. You can read part one here.