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  • Writer's pictureCoach Knickerbocker

Sistering and Your Legacy

I heard an interview recently with Abby Wambach. For those of you that may not know who Abby is she played soccer for the USA Women's national team and is the all time highest scorer in the sport, male or female.

One of her sponsors was Gatorade and when she was preparing to retire they came up with a campaign that started with the phrase, "Forget about me". When she talked about this in the interview she made it clear that she loved the fact that Gatorade came up with this. She believes strongly that others need to come up in the sport and break her records, set new levels of achievement in the game and figuratively "forget her".

This, she believes, is her legacy.

What is yours?

Have you considered what you are leaving behind for the future masters rowers that are coming up behind you? Not that you're going to stop rowing any time soon, but this bears thinking about.

In the middle, the time between now and when YOU retire from rowing, there is a way to begin to lay the framework of a legacy and I'm going to call it sistering.

I know, I know, you're thinking "Sistering? What kind of postmodern feminist woman centered made up word is that?"

It's not.

In carpentry, the mainstay of any structure or house is called a joist. This joist holds a lot of weight. It's a length of timber or steel that supports the structure.

When the joist begins to weaken or is unable to hold the load, two other timbers or length of steel are added in to the right and left of the joist in order to help carry the weight and support the joist.

This is called "sistering".

I love the idea that women masters rowers can "sister" each other. We all experience moments in our lives or during our rowing where we need some sistering. We need someone to help carry the weight or to ease the load for us.

In order to sustain your rowing career for as long as possible there will definitely, absolutely, be days, weeks, seasons where you may be carrying a lot of weight, either due to family, work, or personal reasons that have nothing to do with the rowing and in order to continue rowing you may need that support.

This is where the legacy piece comes in. Helping one another to maintain participation in the sport and stay connected to the team through life stress or injury is how you develop sistering within the context of a team or a group of dedicated rowers.

Achieving something never happens in a vacuum. This concept of sistering between rowers, masters rowers especially, is the beginning of a legacy. One rower sisters another and then that sistered rower does the same for another rower on down the line and so on.

Legacies are not always about erg scores or how much money you've devoted to your club or how much time you've spent reaching your competitive goals. Sometimes legacies are built by simply holding your hand out for another to grab and be lifted.

Row hard, Row well, Compete, Have fun!

Coach Knickerbocker

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