Rowing is the best sport for people of all ages and one of the best team sports as well. It’s a race where you win by sitting on your rear and going backward, but this is not the entirety of rowing.
If one person fails, everyone fails. Teamwork and camaraderie is the most important part of being in a boat. You get to see the people you’re beating rather than a finish line which is something quite dignifying.
In the interview excerpts below, which have been edited and condensed for clarity, MOP Vaishnav College rowing team comprising – Vaishali SV and Supraja Khannan talks about the sport, the tournaments they love, how it’s be shaping them into a team-player, and much more.
What legacy do you have to uphold?
Sportsmanship—is a great legacy to uphold. It’s the habits that will guide us to become better people both on and off the field.
How much would you rate your team on a scale of 1-10? And why?
9/10. As they say power comes more responsibilities, rowing also falls into the line as we have to co-ordinate really well in a way and in line each other in the boat.
Does playing a team sport teach you virtues that the other sportsmen miss out on?
Yes, it does as from playing the team sport we learn a lot of moral standards and values, as rowers we are taught to not only pull for ourselves,but to pull for their teammates as well. That’s one of the virtues.
What does being a team-player mean for you?
Being a part of a team gives you access to so many people and many future opportunities.In a boat, you have to push each other to each person’s physical and mental limits.
What are the tournaments that you look forward to in a given season?
The All India Inter-University Rowing Championship was definitely one to remember, we want to make our principal proud.
What is the one most important tournament that you should win? And why?
Obviously, the Nationals tournament because there not only you get noticed by many rowers but also get the deserved recognition given the numbers of participants. The National tournament also gives us additional motivation to perform better.
How does it feel to represent your college?
It’s always a special feeling when you represent your college and we feel incredibly pleasure as well as honorable as we want to make our principal proud.
As a team, how do you manage to cover up for the failure of another teammate?
We don’t want to get stuck in a moody, negative space so we take them to restobar and cheer them up. Because as a team you need to be genuinely in control of your feelings and see through it.
Do you believe that your team is in good spirit even when the going is tough?
Yes, we all do. It is always important to keep morale high during the tough times, will be difficult though.
Before the race, what’s the atmosphere like in the dressing room?
We fill the dressing room with natural light and fresh air also by playing music and dance with other teammates to get into the rhythm. This will instil an atmosphere of togetherness before the race starts.
Has there been a memorable comeback made by your team in any match?
No, there is not anything such has happened.
Any rituals or routines that you follow as team?
We have set of routines that we follow regularly during practice session as we instructed perform a series of rhythmic row, followed by a chant of “Let’s go.”
Best opponent you have played against?
We haven’t really met anyone that considered the best we played against but there have been a few people that are decent. Her names Sharmila Ashok Kumar, she is amazingly good at the game, has been consistently tough to battle.
If you were given the option of bringing back a senior from your college, who would it be? Why?
Dhikshita Balakrishanan because we like her confidence level.
How do you think you will fare against a boy’s team?
It’s fun to play sports against a boy’s team, but I also like the fact that we have teams and leagues separated by gender. We don’t quite fare well when compete with boys.
How do you break the ice with your juniors?
By sharing some of our personal interests, hobbies, etc. allow them to see with whom they share things in common. This is a sure way to break the ice and make friends with juniors.
You’re the captain and your senior makes a mistake, what will you do?
Oh, this can be bit awkward, but it’s not right to point out their mistakes but the encouragement and praise is would be more effective techniques.
Your toughest opponent
The toughest opponent we have come across is Ranjana Kirupakaran, she’s National Rower. We would like to beat her and learn some of her techniques and be as cool as she is.
How do you handle loss as team?
There is nothing we can do to chance the outcome of the game; it’s a loss anyway so all we have just comfort and talk about our team’s good times and then work twice as hard as before go to the next game.