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Book details
  • SubGenre:Sports
  • Language:English
  • Pages:160
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098328023

Falling Out of the Boat

by Maureen McCauley

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Once the Red Rover Queen of Yeadon, P.A., she felt she could glide through time when she ran. She lost that feeling she had as a child as she became an adult. Years later, remembering that child who ran with joy, she obeys a direction to start running again. Running leads to ballet and watching women in eight-oared rowing shells compete in the Olympics leads to rowing for a time. Then, with no experience, driven only by determination, she takes up sculling, a sport that requires an easy comfortable relationship around water. Something she doesn't have. She learns that the one thing she must never do—fall out of the boat—is what is most likely to happen. In turns inspiring, humorous, and insightful, this memoir is a chronicle of her transformation as she learns about grace that is powered by strength and acceptance.

As a child, the author found that running connected her mind and body. Then she lost that connection, rediscovering it after she began sculling, "the aquatic version of tightrope walking," as Caroline Knapp described it.

She thinks that sculling will be Rowing Lite but learns that capsizing in a tippy boat is easy and re-entry impossible for her. Her internalized Spitfire training--get back into a plane and fly into the wild blue yonder after your plane has been shot down--keeps her going out on the river despite her fear of capsizing. That and the marshmallow chicks she bribes herself with. 

One day, she capsizes and no matter what she does, can't get back into the boat. She realizes that her emphasis on control so she won't fall out has been has been flat out wrong, that anyone can and will fall out--the trick is getting back in. After she manages to haul herself back into the boat, she approaches sculling differently. She stops thinking about it as an exercise in control and begins to think about sculling as a partnered dance with the boat. She begins to fall in love with being in her boat, out on the water, trying for but not always achieving boat/sculler alchemy. She realizes that "coming up the slide, going back down the slide, paying attention to body, boat, water, [and] connecting all three" is the path back to the connection she has been searching for.

About the author
Maureen McCauley was born in Philadelphia. She now lives in New York's Capital District.

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