A few weeks ago when I got off the boat and went running around to find the camping gear I needed for an all-women’s dirt riding motorcycle campout coming up that weekend, I was on my way to the REI store in Corte Madera when I realized I had plenty of time to stop by the Marin Rowing Association boathouse at Larkspur Landing and say hello to my high school coach, who is still a towering figure of strength, love, and leadership in my life, regardless of my age or stature. She is also the backbone, the heart and soul of the Marin Rowing program, which continues to thrive under her stewardship.
Not only was Sandy there, preparing for afternoon practice with the varsity girls’ team, but another old friend and mentor of mine was planning on riding along in the launch and watching the practice as well. So I stayed on to watch practice and asked Sandy, rather meekly, if I could speak to her girls about what I’ve been doing since I graduated from high school (and Marin Rowing) fourteen years ago. She enthusiastically answered “YES!” and I ran off to pick up a cooler and a camp stove before the team convened at 4.
Speaking to the team was exhilarating and empowering. Ladies, your attentive faces gave me joy. Thank you for listening to me. I very much want to pass on some of the lessons I’ve learned by working in this industry in the last few years, and if just one of you considers a future in maritime, then we’ve all taken one step forward. Regardless, I support you no matter what you decide to do.
That was the first time I’ve ever spoken to a large group of young women like yours, and I want you to know that witnessing your focus and unity on the water inspired me and brought back a flood of happy memories of rowing on Corte Madera Creek. Always remember what the program gave to you in these years, and know that you can give back to the next generation just by being true to yourselves.
Amid the waves of memories returning, new memories were made on the creek that day! The sun poured over us in between blustery grey rain squalls; we could see them coming at us over Mount Tam from the sea. I was drinking in the sweetest spring air as I looked up at the hills of Larkspur while we turned around at the bridge next to Marin General, the place where I was born. Sitting between two figureheads of my youth, I was transported. I am so thankful that I was fortunate enough to be a part of this incredible sport in this heavenly place.