Gerard joined GUBC as a Novice in September 2014. Below he reflects on what it has been like to be a student rower at Glasgow University.
I find myself asking the same old question in my head: why do I row? Why do I get up at 5 to get the first train to make training? Why do I empty myself in every session I do? The answer is found when you change ‘I’ to ‘We’. We do it because no one is going to do it for us. In order to succeed sleep will be lost, hands will be blistered and pain will be felt.
But, why? Well rowing is sport where you can find your physical and mental limit and break through it, but only if you want to.
Rowing at university has taught me to manage my time efficiently. It is a big commitment and I have to study at some point. When you train so much it makes using your time so much easier. You realise that you only a limited amount of free time, so you can study in these hours or the work won’t get done at all. It takes away that temptation of ‘I’ll leave it to later’, because there is no later. The discipline I’ve had to have means that I received my best grades so far and this is only testament to the discipline I have gained since starting rowing.
There is nothing more satisfying than seeing all your hard work come together and feeling the benefits. The first months of rowing are about getting used to the new sport and understanding the concepts. This is frustrating at times, yet it is vital if you are to understand the intricacies of the sport. After Christmas the training gets more intense but it doesn’t feel much different. You just get fitter and stronger than you’ve ever been and it becomes addictive. There is no better feeling than coming off an erg barely being able to stand up.
The winter season has been harsh, but the mornings spent watching the sun come up over the river assure me that the summer holds the best to come. It’s not easy but digging deep and finding that little bit extra makes it all worthwhile. You learn a lot about yourself when you are in the abyss and feel like you can’t go on but manage to push through. Seeing 10 other guys equally as committed makes it perfectly clear that you cannot stop. You can’t let them down, you can’t let your coach down and you can’t let yourself down.
What has become clear, as I learn to row and as I blister, sweat and push myself beyond limits, is the importance of the man beside you. What has become clear, is that the people of GUBC make the club what it is.