A Good Question with Many Answers
People often ask rowers why they're so passionate about rowing. The answer is: lots of reasons. When you search the expression "Why Row?" you will get over 59 million hits. We have collected a few of them here to help you make the choice to 1) Row, and 2) Row at the Stewards Foundation.
Rowing is an incredible physical activity
1. Rowing combines a full-body fitness sport with a recreational activity, offering a complete physical and mental conditioning program all in one.
2. Rowing requires a minimum of skills to achieve, (you can learn to row in one afternoon), yet will remain a challenge throughout the years as you continue to improve.
3. People of all ages, sizes, and physical limitations can learn to row and achieve a level of accomplishment that is both physically beneficial and personally rewarding. Rowing is now recognized as an effective means of therapeutic conditioning used in various applications, from joggers with bad knees to those with physical handicaps.
4. Rowing puts you in a unique and refreshing atmosphere - far from the madding crowd - one that stimulates your senses while challenging your efforts.
5. You'll come to find that rowing never encourages boredom; that you'll actually look forward to your next row, whether it's to work out or work less. The fascinating sport of rowing, simply put, is a fun way to stay fit.
Blah, Blah, Blah - Rowing is FUN!
Don't over analyze this – Rowing is fun. Ask the kids in the Junior program who do it. Kids and adults do it because they like it. They enjoy the sport and each other in a way that defies understanding. Joining a rowing club is a great way to meet new people and get in shape! Typical high or middle school students, middle-aged adults, and seniors alike enjoy getting in shape while working out with a bunch of other like-minded individuals. Members at the Stewards Foundation range in age from 12 to 80-year olds, they have a broad range of interests, come from a range of backgrounds and experience – but they all love rowing. Rowing at the Stewards Foundation also allows our members to connect with nature in Tampa in a way other sports simply cannot. From the Stewards Foundation a crew can row past the ships and fish boats on the way to the shipping channel. Dolphins and manatees are common sites when rowing in Tampa. You cannot get that same experience on a small pond in a city park.
Ok, So Let's Go Ahead and Analyze This Anyway
Rowing, also known as 'Crew', is the ultimate team sport. Success depends on all rowers giving their greatest possible effort. Mastering rowing requires:
§ Harmony – because all the rowers must swing together in unison
§ Balance – because the athletes and the boat and the water are moving
§ Rhythm – because to do it well requires the timing and grace of a musician or dancer
§ Power – because to move the boat as fast as possible requires significant effort
§ Endurance – because all of this must be done to perfection for an extended period of time.
Done right, rowing looks graceful, elegant and sometimes effortless. But don't be fooled, according to the people who measure them, Olympic rowers are the world’s most physically fit athletes. The sport demands endurance, strength, balance, mental discipline, and an ability to continue on when your body is demanding that you stop. Physically, rowing is a total body workout. Rowing only looks like an upper body sport. Although upper body strength is important, the power of the rowing stroke comes from the legs.
Athletes injured in other sports can find a home where they can continue to compete or work out safely. More than one football player, jogger, or tennis player has found a happy home in a boat. Rowers can continue to participate – including in competition – well into their 90's, and among women over 50, rowing is one of the fastest growing sports.
Values, Role Models, and the Bigger Picture
Many parents like the fact that rowing strengthens a sense of duty and obligation to the team that is not as fully developed in other activities. An eight-oared crew can only go out if all eight rowers and the coxswain show up on time. Rowing reinforces the value of teamwork over an extended period for a common objective. Rowing teaches the value of deferred gratification, and mental toughness. It teaches young people to go beyond self-imposed limits.
You don't have to train for the Olympics – or even compete – to enjoy rowing. We have many members at the Stewards Foundation who never compete, but love to row and get out onto the water. If what you want is quiet exercise and a nice view of nature – rowing is where you can go. Want to look and feel better? Rowing strengthens your arms, legs, abdominals and torso, and firms your butt.
Being a high school rower can help you gain entrance to a better college. The best colleges in the country have active rowing programs. Many colleges do offer rowing scholarships, especially for women. Even if you do not compete at the next level having shown that you have the discipline and mental toughness to compete in rowing is impressive to any college.
Getting out on the water eases stress, promotes mental strength and mental health. Rowing with other people promotes teamwork. You can do it indoors, and you can do it outdoors. But most importantly – as we noted above – the biggest reason that people row is because it's FUN!!!