Thursday, May 22, 2008

Concrete Proof

In 2004, Mary-Elizabeth and Whitney were about to sign-up to begin rowing. Mary-Elizabeth never was able to start. Mary-Elizabeth has visited and watched and supported Whitney on occasion. She took a rowing camp, went to crew one day a week and then two or three and then 4 days a week. She has been very reluctant to row in a race.. She did not feel strong enough to do a 2K or even a 1.5 k race. She felt she would let down her team. She did not trust her body. She did not feel like she could face the disappointment. She would get all geared up and then..... a cold that lingered or a set of hip flexers that would disagree with the entire process. Little steps forward, big steps back.

A couple of months ago she started to question why she was rowing, was something she wanted to do or something that she was doing for me. If it was so important why was I not more involved... How would she be able to do all her homework and row next year. What if.....

Well I had a hissy fit earlier this spring and told her she had to row in at least one race. It was time to get off the fence and commit no matter what hurt or the blisters or her lungs or the fact she was not 100% recovered from __________ fill in the blank, PMS, finals, watching too many Lucy shows. Any way she was ready to do it.

She worked and was on the team and in a boat and doing well and then Belle and Karen left a little cold. Started out just feeling funky, then very tired and then a cough and then and then and then. So she was out of the boat. Her coach was less than pleased but then they see lots of potential in M-E they see how hard she works and how much she wants to succeed. She works well with other and does lots of things.

Well she didn't row at Brentwood in Canada. (I had a great time and tried local bread and cheese and bought wine from the Cowichen Tribe.) She was determined to row in Regionals in Vancouver Washington. So, lots of rest, vitamins, good meals and lots of prayer.

Off she went on the bus to Vancouver. I followed the next day. She did not row until day three but hung out, became more nervous. Fretted and worried and kvetched and did home work. It was "oh my god" hot. 105 in the shade. Then Sunday came.

I was up and out the door by 7:00 am and there was no coffee but room coffee. I arrived and helped with breakfast and other things and then we waited. Boat after boat launches. Noisy Holy Names cheering happening, boats coming down the course and the I hear the they "hot seated" No endless cheers for them. They entered the boat just as the previous group ended their race. They were off and we had nothing to do but wait.

It takes about 40 minutes from launch to start. Everyone was lined up, they headed down the course. They are more than 2000 meters away and it is hard to tell they have even started, let along what lane they are in, so where they are does not seem to even matter at that point. All you can see is a glitter and flash.

As we they were coming down the course, I was standing with a couple of more experienced mothers. I was telling them that this was M-E's first race and that she just didn't want to be last. I learned from a very small, cross wearing, medal (at least one of Our Lady of Guadalupe) that the correct term was DFL. Dead F((((( Last. .
As we watched and cheered and prayed it became very clear that they were not going to be last and then that they were going to place. I held my breath as she and her team came in third. I didn't know that a medal came with it. One of the mother's was very worried about whether or not there would be a medal. I told her I was just glad that they were not last. I later found out the her daughter was a child that really needed this sort of validation. She was very bright but did not do well socially but was determined to stick to crew. M-E had been in a boat of juniors that had never won a race. They had struggled but stuck to it.
As we drove home I asked her about the experience. She told me she had never felt anything like the adrenalin rush at the start of the race.
"Mom, I found a great use for anxiety and adrenalin."