The Deep Love of Sculling
This state goes deep into the heart of our being. We feel the beauty of this exquisite movement. It is a movement that becomes more and more sublime. This refinement demands complete attention. It is where speed lies. We must be educated in the dancers that have gone before us because that is what we are fine dancers in the shell. So we must be familiar with Sugar Ray Robinson, Fred Astiare, Ginger Rogers, Ann Millar, Mikhail Baryshnikov. Their faces display the strong love and appreciation that they have for their art. These were the athletes who pushed the art to the limit. Their elasticity and relaxation of body along with their power are quite evident. They feel every tissue of every muscle in their movement of flow. Their faces display the same neutrality as those of the 100-meter Olympic sprinter, no strain, no struggle, pure performance.
We must embrace this athleticism. Our sport has to be larger than ourselves and our experience. It has to embrace the athleticism of other athletes and their love for their activity. We have to feel this deep inside of ourselves and feel the smoothness of our powerful movements.
As scullers we must feel and embrace that primary movement from our hips forward and backward on the slide. It has to be totally part of who we are as scullers. It provides the power one direction and provides the relaxation in the other direction.. It is a seminal movement for our art.
Yes, with their performance there is “no rush, no chatter or pressure.” It was simply doing and being. It was being amid your environment, appreciating where you are at the moment, concentrating and refining the individual movements of the cycle. It becomes an intimate dance between our bodies, arms, legs, trunk and fingers and the oars and shell. It becomes a fine relationship between the two. It is a feeling that develops, the elasticity of the body fine tuned in its work with the shell. I still think of the Plains Indian sitting bareback on his horse. He was the skilled athlete. He had the elasticity, the strength and endurance. No energy was wasted. He was operating as one with his horse, just as we must learn to perform as on with our shell. There is an intimate bonding involved. You love the shell, you love the movements, and you love the sport. With the skills reached, you never forget the feel and the refinement achieved.
The deep love originates from the depths of our marrow. We can feel every muscle, bone involved in these beautiful movements. We come to know them like the back of our hand. Love, movement, power, relaxation all go hand in hand like a strong integrative motion. It is all one. It is all whole. It is technical, psychological, mental and spiritual all rolled into one. It is us. It is our being human.