A Leap of Faith Proves Successful

Riley Marsh, Op-Ed Writer

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RileyNats1 RileyNats2 smallAt the start of freshman year, I decided to take a leap of faith and try out a new sport. This was a sport I had never really heard much about, but at the urging of my parents I decided to pursue it. Since that day rowing has been a passion of mine, something that I cannot imagine my life without. As a four season sport, it consumes the majority of my free time, whether I like it or not.

However, there is something about my athletic experience that is different from the majority of athletes at King. There is no rowing team at King. A drawback of rowing is the fact that it is quite costly to start up a team, which means that most smaller schools do not have one. On top of that, rowing is not an overwhelmingly popular sport, comprising only two percent of all athletes. As a result, most successful rowing teams are built up of athletes from many separate local areas and schools.

I currently row for Maritime Rowing Club in Norwalk, which consists of athletes from New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Wilton, Redding, Westport, and many other towns. Practice runs every day from 3:00pm to 6:00 p.m. There is an obvious dilemma with this schedule. King’s school day officially ends at 3:15pm!

Over the past couple of years, the school has been highly accommodating, allowing me to be dismissed a little early from school in order to get to practice on time. Since I am rowing in a boat with other athletes, it is literally impossible for them to practice without me, as much as it is impossible for me to practice without them.

A challenge that I have encountered over the course of my rowing career is balancing my academic life with my athletic life. The term is “student-athlete,” not “athlete-student.” Many times it is easy to forget this, and the effects are obvious. Normally, I arrive home around 6:30pm or 7:00pm. After a full dinner and washing up, homework time begins around 7:30 or 8:00. If I want to get to bed at a decent hour, this means a solid three hours of time to get work done. With six classes of work, this can often be a challenge (as I’m sure you all know). I have found that while rowing does not leave me with a superfluous amount of time to finish my work, the shrunken time frame has forced me to work more efficiently over the years, thus improving my work ethic.

Although the sport I partake in outside of King has eaten away at much of the time I would otherwise have to complete homework and study, I firmly believe that it has benefitted me as a student in more ways than I can count, and if I had the choice to do high school all over again, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Riley Marsh will graduate from King in 2016 and has committed to Columbia University for rowing.  Congratulations Riley!

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