Monday, March 7, 2016

A Lesson from the Three Seat.

In rowing, every seat in the eight-oared shell is known for particular "temperament" or skill needed by the occupant. Many articles have been written about this and most of them poke fun at absolutely everyone. There are seats I have never occupied (stroke seat, because I have no rhythm on my own!) and seats I should not occupy (coxswain...because while I do have a loud voice, we need the lightest person in the boat there!) and (bow seat, for the same reasons given for the coxswain seat!).

I am out of the boat for the moment, looking for the desire to get back to the sport and the people who have literally saved my life for more than twenty-five years. I think I will get there, and I want to get there, but not until I lose weight and get my shoulder back to where it needs to be. It really is a spiritual thing.  Long term rehab is one of the hardest challenges I have ever faced, and it gives me compassion for our elders who are active and whose bodies begin to experience the signs of aging. It is not for the faint of heart.

But back to three seat. I have come to realize over these last months that respect (yep, think of the song!) is my core value in life. This value is being sorely tested as I watch the debates unfold on both sides of the aisle. It seems that disrespecting the other is, in the end, the only strategy which political advisers deem effective.  I feel sure that we as a country can do better, but apparently not right now.

As a friend reminded me the other day, we have eight more months of this to endure. So to the extent that I need to practice (and I do!) living into my core value, I apparently have much material to work with, God being my helper (puhleeeeeeze!!!)

So the three seat is going to become my go-to image. The three seat is the humble seat in the boat. Not the lightest, not the quickest, not the strongest, not the best technique, not the leader at the stern end, but a leader from the middle back (all seats, I maintain, must lead AND follow!).  Three seat does not have the role of being critical, rather, three seat acts like glue to help bow pair and engine room and stern pair do their very best, being guided by the coxswain (because, as every rower knows, when people in the boat do not work together, the boat does not move well, period.)

So in this time when I desperately want to shout out from the rooftops about the lack of civility and the lack of respect I see all around me, I will try and remember my new touchstone, Three Seat. And if things really get bad, I will go down to the boathouse and volunteer to cox...poor rowers!

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