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Rowing begins fall season in rainstorm

Column by Ashley Beall

Ashley Beall-w2000-h2000Race Day.

It’s the day where every blister you’ve earned, every body part you’ve bruised and every drop of sweat you’ve bled becomes worth it.

Until a storm rolls through and decides to empty every ounce of water it has all over you.

Our first race was the Head of the Des Moines this past weekend.

It’s the first time that our novices, the freshmen, have ever raced, and it was the first race of the season for the varsity squad.

The first race of the day was at 10:05 a.m., and it seemed like it was going to be a pretty good day.

Then came the rain halfway through the race, and that’s when we could no longer tell our sweat apart from the raindrops on our skin.

In a twisted way, the rain was kind of a blessing in disguise.

It drove us to push harder. With every stroke we pulled we were getting closer to the finish line and closer to being able to change into dry clothes and regain the heat in our bodies.

I rowed only one race in one of our Varsity-8 boats, and we beat our practice times by almost a full minute, which felt amazing.

While we didn’t win our race, we did finish fifth and manage to beat our other Varsity-8 boat.

It’s a little exasperating at times when we race against the bigger schools like University of Iowa because they are a bigger program, and it’s hard not to get frustrated. But it’s what motivates me to push myself harder.

We have a saying on our team and the coxswain, the person who steers the boat and keeps us motivated during the race, tells us, “Pull for the girl in front of you.”

It basically means to pull hard because the other girls in our boat are doing the same for you.

The course is three miles and at the two-mile mark, it will make or break you. When I get to that point, I think of the girls in my boat, the frustration I feel towards the other schools and the frustration I have existing in my own life and how this is the moment to unleash all that anxiety and anger to help move my boat faster and to help the people who motivate me to wake up every morning for practice.

It’s my way of giving them the same joy they give me.

This race was the first of our fall season, and it has me excited for what’s to come.

I can’t wait to travel and race against some of the best teams and show them how tough the Drake University Bulldogs can be.

Beall is a sophomore public relations and English double major and can be reached at ashley.beall@drake.edu

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