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Friday, February 25, 2011


I was doing a tech row the other day and I was practicing strokes by watching my blade enter the water and was trying to work a good release and catch. Then I started to get bored and jokingly thought to myself "Now that's a perfect catch!". Oddly, my little amusing joke to myself sparked a train of thought that was worthy of the blog. What the heck is a perfect stroke? I started thinking how I have now been rowing for fifteen years and I can't tell you what exactly a "perfect" stroke is. Then I thought, if I can't pinpoint the perfect stroke, then perhaps there is no such thing. Then, what the heck does perfect mean anyway? I looked up the definition. Perfect is "being complete of its kind and without defect or blemish". What??!!! I think that might be the most abstract and useless definition I have ever read. Like my competitors post, perfect to me seems to be something of relativity. We all know that different styles of rowing, different strokes and different training programs win gold medals, so why are we always seeking perfection? What I mean is, if perfect doesn't actually exist in a tangible, non-relative form, then why do we pursue it?

Now in that question, I have found the answer. Perfect is perfect because it does not actually exist within the rowing stroke and so it is the pursuit of something unreachable that keeps us trying over and over and over to achieve it. Winning a rowing race doesn't mean you raced the perfect race, it doesn't mean you took 250 perfect strokes, it means that something added up and came out in your favor but I guarantee it wasn't the execution of perfection. I have taken almost all my strokes not perfectly, but every one has been with intent. I think the following Nike ad sums this up "perfectly".

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