Honest to goodness that phrase was used once to describe me. But honestly I never thought I was short… I’m 5ft 4inches. That’s only .25 of an inch below the Irish average for a woman. My mother is shorter, coming in at 5’1. And my boyfriend has always been much taller than me, he’s just under 6’2. I’ve never seen it it as a massive disadvantage, I’m quite good at climbing to get to things (or just call Cormac) and it meant I could always wear heels (brings me up to the height of the rest of the women in the office). But recently I’ve been wishing I was a little taller. Why? Well it all boils down to that sport I’ve been banging on about for the past 6 months!
Height is very important in rowing. All to do with physics or some such but basically the taller you are the easier it is for you to get a boat moving quickly. And you’ll never guess what, I’m the shortest in the group of women that I row with. Not only that but my main crew member, the woman who is in the boat with me everyday is 5’11. A whole six inches in the difference. To keep up with her I have to work so much harder. What would feel a little tiring to her would completely kill me. And I can’t help but think how good we could be if I wasn’t so vertically challenged. Or if she would be better off with one of the taller girls Is she just carrying me? Yes I’m just as fit but is that enough?
These questions have been playing over and over in my head for months now. And yesterday I felt like some of these questions were answered for me. We were put out in single sculls and had to row against each other. I know what you’re thinking, I must have been miles behind her. And for the paddle I was, I had to pull so much harder to even stay closer to her and she was rowing quite lightly, only focusing on her technique. But then we raced. And boy did I hold my own. I was quick and I was strong and I was hard to beat.
I wasn’t going down without a fight… or at least until I broke the boat.
And that got me thinking about my own attributes. Attributes that made me a good rower. Attributes I should be proud of instead of focusing on what I’m not. Being lighter than my competition, being fast from the get-go, being strong and being stubborn as fuck. Dammit I am good! And so is she! We make a great team!
Those six inches don’t mean anything when we work hard, stick together and never let the other one give up!
Photo shown above: Myself, Art and Ruth. These are the two that I train with the most, yes these two! I’m hella short in comparison!