Thursday, May 01, 2008

Announcement: I'm quitting rowing

(I think.)

I've had it. I've just had enough.

I work and work and work and work and get fuck all back. In the last 4 years I've been in 6 races, only 1 of those in the past 18 months. And now I have no prospect of racing this season.

I train and train, but don't get any closer to my goals, because my goals are competitions and I don't have the chance to compete. Even losing would be better. At least if I lost I would have had a fighting chance. As it is, I don't even have that much. And now there is no prospect of racing in the future.

Fuck it all.

There is still the slightest chance I may yet find a doubles partner for Women's Henley Regatta, but that is becoming slimmer by the day.

So I've told Bristol to put it where the sun don't shine, and I've joined a local club. They're friendly, and they have some nice equipment. I will pass the summer paddling around the Bristol docks in a single, and hopefully enjoy some summer sunshine, keep myself in shape, and maybe get a bit of a tan.

And come the end of the summer, September, the wedding, and all those other life changes, I will hang up the blades for good. I will not look for a rowing club in Plymouth. There is one, but it's crap, the water is crap, and there's no good competition down that way. So it would just be more the fucking same, and I can't face that.

When I get to Plymouth I will attempt something I've always wanted to do: martial arts.

I've had the chance to take karate lessons a few times over the years, and I always wanted to give it a go, but I've never had the time. I was always committed to my rowing schedule. So now I'm going to give myself the time. I'll try to find a decent karate or judo or tae kwan do studio. It will help keep me in shape, it will be new and exciting, it will be good way to work out aggression and frustration (a mental health benefit rowing has always provided me which is a key to my sanity), and I like the idea of an activity where I get to beat the crap out of people. That has a lot of appeal right now. A lot of appeal.

It's been a difficult decision. I never thought I could turn my back on something I love so much. It scares me that I'm capable of that kind of mind-shift. But it doesn't feel like i've turned my back on it, it feels more like it's turned its back on me.

But of course, as an athlete, you have it drummed in that winners never quit and quitters never win. I'm not a quitter. I'm a winner. I don't quit. Ever. I don't give up. But how is this not giving up?

Shouldn't I be more determined than ever? Shouldn't I go to Plymouth and start my own club, if that's what it takes? Shouldn't I do everything in my power to keep going?

When does that cross the line into stupidity? When do determination, commitment, and perseverance become shouting at a brick wall?

How can I quit and still face myself in the morning?

But how can I keep going, when it's ceased to be a joy and become nothing but a burden? When does it all stop being worth the constant mental and physical struggle? How can I walk away and keep my self respect?

21 comments:

Geosomin said...

If you're not enjoying it anymore...I don't think you should do it. Especially if you can think of something else you'd like to do. It'll end up becoming a source of bitterness...I've seen athletes cling to their craft and become miserable and bitter. Don't do it.

Not rowing does not have anything to do with how good of a person you are. You are a good person and a good rower.
Karate sound like a decent thing to go into...

Murph said...

I think you should give rowing the chop.

FirstNations said...

you stop when what you're doing no longer gives you back anywhere near what you put into it. you've reached that point with the rowing. simple rule of gambling here. cut the losses and find a new game. you already have the innate ability to know when to do the right thing, though, did you realize that? you do.

now go kick the crap out of someone.
go go go, g'wan now.

Tim Footman said...

If you're going to start a martial art, can I suggest kendo? If someone tries to mug you, instead of hitting him, or throwing him over your shoulder, you can cut his head off.

Anonymous said...

Saw this and thought of you http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7376123.stm

perhaps there is hope !

Lisa

Chaucer's Bitch said...

Geo: thanks, hun. i appreciate the support.

murph: you're not the only one!

FN: any moment now!

tim: ooh, off with his head!!! i quite like the sound of that, you know. do i get a weapon, or do i need to sharpen the sides of my hands?

anon: i saw that myself on Friday! Hooray!

Agnostic Possom said...

Sounds like you have a great support group. You've obviously put a lot of thought into this and I think your instincts will serve you well. Good luck! (or, make your own luck, whichever you prefer!)

Sal said...

if it no longer enthuses you, stop it. simple as that. any "quitter!" shit is just that: shit; from people more interested in altering your life than in your life.

ap ad astra! onwards and upwards!

re martial arts: go for it! only: be uber careful of your back for the first 6mths. explosive movement is quite quite different from sustained effort (eg, you will notice your body changing shape to a more wasp-waisted more-toned appearance), and until all the little muscles up and down your spine have altered behaviour, you run a real risk of throwing that disk. pay very careful attention to technique at the outset, and to doing things with progressive acceleration.

but definitely go for it. martial arts are for my money the most fun and the best exercise of any of the alternatives.

i was going to suggest we hook up and form a club (if you wanted to learn TKD), then slapped my forehead: plymouth is not portsmouth (from which i am only 30mins away).

Chaucer's Bitch said...

ap: thanks. my readers are, indeed, a wonderful support group!

sal: Pirate and i find ourselves in Portsmouth now and again. Next time we'll be in the area (for cricket) i would love to look you up and buy you a beer. do you like cricket? come to a match some time!

Michael said...

But how can I keep going, when it's ceased to be a joy and become nothing but a burden?

You answered your own question. It's time.

Donn said...

That's too bad..a tough decision to make because you really loved it.

That being said you need to listen to your body. Just remember that your fierce countenance will allow you to excel in Martial Arts or whatever else it is that you discover to work off the dross of Life.

Hai YA! Go get 'em.

helena said...

You aren't quitting...you're simply shifting focus.

ZB said...

I'll row with you at Henley. I've got my fitness and mojo back and I'm shit hot in a scull thanks to Mike F. We'll cream the opposition.

Anyway, can you ring me with your new number? I think I've got you a proof reading job if you're up for it. Better than the stuff you did for me as you can charge them an appropriate rate and it's for typo's and stuff rather than telling me what worked and what didn't. Nice lad, it's on Zen. Fancy it?

Anonymous said...

If your moving to Plymouth I think taking up Martial Arts is wise . . .

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Anonymous said...

I know how you feel, i'm telling my coach that i'm quitting tomorrow and i'm so scared that he'll kill me but it has to be done. wish me luck!