Light A Match; Bring The Fire
By Yasmin Farooq, Head Coach,
Washington Women's Rowing
It takes burning commitment to be a Washington Rower. The pre-dawn workouts, the icy rain and darkness of winter, the pain of giving it your all. Every day, the women of Washington Rowing know the final three words I'll tell them as practice begins: "Bring the fire!".
After a particularly tough week of training last fall, we talked as a team about how important it is to stick to the process of bringing your best to every practice. "You're going to come in some mornings," I told the team, "and you won't be sure if you've got an ember to give, much less a fire. But if one person can light a match, it will spark a blaze that can ignite every rower in the room if you stick together."
A few days later, we were doing a very challenging erg workout. Fifth year rower Teal Cohen went after the first piece hard and knew she was going to have to dig deep.
I asked her, "How are you doing?"
And she replied,"I need a match!"
That's all it took to ignite the rest of the team.
As we launched into the next piece the erg room became electric with cheers and shouts of encouragement as we ground out the piece together.
This story represents a founding principle of our team and a driving force for us to make our boats go as fast as possible this season. Washington Women's Rowing exists to elevate one another and create extraordinary performances together. We enter each season assuming that every team we'll face is getting better and better. They're giving it their all, too. We can set ourselves apart through our work ethic, our competitive spirit, and a readiness to be the fire or the match.
We also carry into the 2022 season a deep appreciation for the past 50 years of Title IX. We owe a great debt to the pre- and post-Title IX classes of women who lit that first match, igniting the flame that burns within every Woman of Washington today. In June we'll celebrate Title IX's golden anniversary with all of them at our annual alumnae brunch, sharing stories of each generation's contribution to this amazing legacy.
This story originally appeared in UW Rowing's "SWEEP" magazine. Read the spring, 2022, edition via the link at the top-right of this page.