Link to my doc
The feeling I got in my stomach was twisted, cringeable, and overwhelming. As I stepped out of the deep blue Volkswagen, the energy in the air was tangible. I could feel the tension I had in the air all around me. It was quite beautiful, the way the grass swayed in the wind and the sound of the river flushed again the docks. I’ve never been on a boat before, so getting into a small, claustrophobic crew boat probably wasn’t a bright idea. But then again, Quid Pro Quo, I had to do this. I went to California, and I gave my word, I always stick to it.
My aunt signed me up for this two week rowing camp and I dreaded it. The day of, I rolled out of bed not changing out of my pajamas until five minutes before leaving. My family and I have dreams of me going to UC Berkeley, Stanford, Duke, UPenn, and so on. I’ve always bugged them trying to find a sport I like, and they thought rowing would look good on my application. I was always told to try it, or to give it a shot. Not until last summer, did I even think about it. I wanted to visit my other family in bright and sunny California, across the country, and the only way my aunt agreed, was if I tried this two-week rowing camp.
“Have a good day sweetie, and remember you try it once, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want!” my aunt said, as I slowly made my way away from the car towards the sparkling, blue Schuylkill river that lay ahead of me. I thought to myself “Let’s just get this day over with Mar.” The smell of fresh water, trees, nature, and sweat all filled my nose as I walked toward the crowd of people who were also doing the camp. It made me nauseous. The kids sat on the prickling grass with big smiles on their face, as if it were their birthday or the last day of school.
Rowing is an art, the finest art out there, and when it reaches you, when it touches your soul it changes your world. Crew is a sport that controls your mind and your body. It’s a dream where pain and pleasure collide. I didn’t choose rowing, rowing chose me.
Everything from then on is only but a blur. The way that the oars hit the water, splashing it gently, and moving my legs in perfect synch. The lines of symmetry, the colors of the trees that I passed by. Ever since this first moment, I’ve been rowing non-stop for a year. To find a passion, and devote your mind and body to it is something not many people experience. I can’t see a person in life becoming successful or happy without giving everything he’s got to make it happen. A true passion is finding something you love, and not being able to imagine life without it. I can’t remember what exactly I did, or why I even got up in the morning before rowing. It’s that particular drive to do something out of your comfort zone or to push yourself forward. I’ve become obsessed with rowing, and I wish that everyone could love something as much as I’m able to love this sport.
Sometimes, you do something you regret, or wish you didn’t, but sometimes just by chance you find something that shakes your world upside down. It was as if my heart finally chose what it loved. Rowing is not something that you choose, but more like it chooses you. Waking up 3 hours earlier, and going to bed at 9 o’clock, eating like there’s no tomorrow, popping the blisters that fill my hands, so much pain in my hands that I can barely wash my hair. These things are why people ask me why I row.
But that’s not it. Why do I row? The reason I row is that feeling I get during a race. When sitting at the start waiting for the coxswain to scream “ROW” before I glide off onto the river, 500m, 1000m, it’s a game of inches. Adrenaline flies through my veins, all eight in perfect synch, catch stroke slide. Large needles in our thighs, our arms going to fall off, and that feeling, that particular feeling when you have 200m to go, where you know you may not make it to the finish line, you might die first. As individuals we pulse together as one, we push drive soar; finally we get past the finish line. The pain in our bodies stabbing us, as we glide with our oars on the water. We’re done. The reason I row, is for the best worst feeling in the world.
“Don’t worry” my sister said, “ I’ll be home before you know it”. Those few words meant the world to me, but I knew I wouldn’t see her for another month. How could someone that looks this fine be so messed up?
It was a cold snowy day and I didn’t want to leave the warmth of the car. Also, I was terrified to enter yet another rehab. I used to think they were all the same, long hallways and lights that shine a little too bright, but this one was different. It was a large cabin in the woods. I was going there to visit my older sister. After I finally got the courage to go inside, I noticed the fresh smell of apple pie. The lighting was dim and soft, like a cozy house.
The second I saw my sister my heart dropped. She tackled me to the carpeted floor in front of everyone. We rolled around and cried our eyes out, so happy to be together again. When we realized an audience had gathered around us, we started laughing but we didn’t stop hugging. This was weird because we never really hugged before. After seeing her at that moment, I knew everything was going to be okay.Little did I know she would relapse and overdose 2 weeks later.
I was always expecting that call. The call saying that something horrible had happened to her. I knew it would happen, but didn’t know when. Maybe I was just being overprotective. She meant the world to me, and if anything happened to her I don’t know what I would do. After she left rehab I assumed this would never happen. I was always afraid of her giving in and going back to drugs. I thought maybe this time was different. Maybe she would stay clean for me. I knew she wanted to, but I wasn’t sure if she was strong enough.
The day I finally got the call was one of the worst days of my life. I remember getting off the bus and entering my house.It was dead silent, and I knew something was wrong. Nobody was home. I looked at my phone and my mom called me. I answered immediately and heard the beeping of the hospital machines in the background. Before I knew it tears were streaming down my face, and my mom asked me to meet her at the hospital. I called my best friend and got on the bus crying my eyes out. I’m sure there were many eyes staring at me, but I didn’t care. When I got to the hospital, I saw her boyfriend in the waiting room, who got her addicted to heroin. He was asking if he could go see her, and that set me off. I started screaming at the top of my lungs at him and the security guards who were trying to hold me back. I saw Michelle and slowly walked over to her. The look on her face will haunt me forever.How could she do this to me? She promised she wouldn’t do this again. I trusted her. She’s so young and innocent. She has so much more living to do. It all started when she was 13. She got mixed in with the wrong crowd, and it took off from there. My mom used to be an alcoholic, so I think my sisters way of dealing with that was to also drink. And once my mom noticed how messed up Michelle was, it caused her to drink more. It was a never ending cycle. I don’t remember when my mom stopped drinking, but Michelle never stopped. She made it a point to try every drug possible. By the age of 19 she was already in rehab twice. By 20 she was in there at least 5 times. I don’t know why she doesn’t want to get better. She’s always been very depressed, and I think this is an escape for her.
Today, she’s 21 and addicted to heroin. She could be doing so much better than this. I had so much faith in her to get help and recover, but all that faith is almost gone. She means the world to me, and I would do anything for her. I want her to see that she is loved, but she has trampled all over my love from time to time. I just don’t know how much longer I can do this.