I took up rowing this year. I think I was attracted to that whole Boating-on-the-Thames-Henley-Royal-Regatta vibe.
The Learn to Row program was run at the civilised hour of 9.30am on a Sunday morning. Tootling up and down a tree-lined river on a balmy mid-morning, I was convinced this was the sport for me.
It was only after I paid my club membership, signing up for a year of jolly ol’ spiffing fun on the river, that the truth came out. Rowers don’t generally row on warm, sunny mornings after they’ve had a leisurely breakfast and read the newspaper. They arise at a time when the small hand on the clock has not even made it halfway around the clock. By the time I found this out, it was also outside the normal rowing season which just means that not only is one required to rise before the dawn, but dawn does not make an appearance for quite some time. It would not matter if the river was tree-lined or factory-chimney-lined because there’s nothing to see in the dark.
This was also when I discovered that rowing is perhaps not the best sport for a night owl. Always one prone to heading to bed when the small hand has already begun its journey from the top of the clock, being required to then arise again before the poor small hand has even had a chance to make it to the opposite point to where it started, turned out not to be conducive to a coherent day ahead.
So you’d think I’d give it up, right? Wrong. I am still rowing. Why? Well, apart from the fact that the weather is slowly improving so I no longer spend vast amounts of my first waking hours in the dark, there is one captivating and addictive advantage to rising before the birds.
I mean, could you give this up?