Row your frickin’ boat

Some people are, ah, really great at sports. And sportz. And at using their bodies to perform feats of athleticism that require focus and ferocity. For me, not so much.

With organized sports, I can’t seem to tune out my teammates and competitors enough to focus on the job of defeating them. I mentally review the decade of middling mid-field soccer I played in my youth, and see it mostly as an exercise in getting exercise, while wishing people weren’t such focused jerks so we could talk more. Maybe if we had, like, a twenty-minute opening circle first so we could understand where each other was coming from? Maybe if I was a more skilled player, and my dominance was effortless and natural?

Even watching sports is a challenge. I get a little distracted by the logos on the boards, the music playing over the speakers, and can’t quite avoid running an intense cultural commentary in my head about every single dynamic I’m observing, instead of just following the gameplay.

So when it comes to working out, I haven’t really found a good rhythm. I don’t mind the gym if I can listen to a good podcast, or a long walk where I can think by myself, but getting into focus and intensity has always been a challenge.

This past couple weeks, though, something clicked. It was music. In my headphones. And a rowing machine.

The first try was a playlist that just happened to be Arcade Fire, and the friction and intensity and ferocity in the music itself activated the beast within. I rowed for more than 30 minutes until sweat was dripping down my face.

The next visit, I upped the intensity of the playlist, and found again that the sweat didn’t just break, it poured. This was a fierceness of fitness I don’t usually hit.

All this to say: once I drop Addie at karate on Tuesday and Thursday nights, you’ll see me at the Y, rowin’ my frickin’ boat, puttin’ numbers on the board with Pusha-T, ’88 Jordan leapin’ from the free throw.