Tough Decisions

With life come tough decisions. The toughest decisions are when there are two choices, and both of them are good decisions, but one can potentially be “better.” What does “better” even mean?

The easy decisions are where you know what’s right, and you know what’s wrong; the easiest decisions aren’t necessarily “right,” but at least it is the right decision for you.

I ran into the “better” decision-making process leading up to my last race. I had four rowers all set to go out and win our biggest race of the season. The week before, I started having doubts about one of my rowers and the heart and muscle that he was putting into each practice. He was my fastest rower, and also my heaviest, but he lacked the heart and motivation that is needed to compete in crew. A crew race is a long sustained sprint (around 6 minutes, depending on your level and distance) that is pretty much the hardest thing ever, if you let your body get to that point. There are some racers at a high level, who go so hard that they actually black out. This rower could not give me everything, and the night before the race, with lots of support from fellow coaches AND the rowers in that boat, we decided to make a switch. I put someone in the boat who had never been in the boat, but who wanted a shot so badly. I knew he would give the team and me everything that he had.

The hardest part about this tough decision was that, the night before the race, I had to tell the swapped kid I was taking him out of the boat. He was very upset, but wished the four rowers well. He ended up racing in another boat. He now understands that every time he has a chance at a boat, he has to pull and row as well and as hard as possible. The best part of the decision was telling the new rower that he would be in the boat; he was SO excited! He also was extremely nervous and did not want to let the team down. He had a very hard time sleeping the night before.

I wish the story and my decision had a happy ending. While the decision was the “better” decision, it was not “better” enough. We needed to come in the top six to make the final, and we came in 7th by less than 2 seconds. There were positives, like going the fastest we have ever gone, and building a team. I was and continue to be extremely proud of the rowers and the team that I have built. In my short coaching career, this was the hardest decision that I have made, and while it was the “better” decision, it was still tough.

I want to know about your tough decisions, it does not have to have a “better” happy ending, but knowing that you did the right thing for yourself, is the only thing you can do.


2 thoughts on “Tough Decisions”

  1. I have been in this situation a few times in my life, having two good choices. One decision I made that sticks out is my choice of where to go to college. I had found the school I wanted to go to, applied early decision and was accepted. I was so happy. The school was just over two hours away from home, it was perfect! Then two months later, I found out my dad was being transferred to Texas. Now this meant my family would be a 4 hour plane ride away.

    My family tried to convince me to look at schools in Texas but I had already committed and I wasn’t about to back out of a situation because it was going to be hard! I am not a quitter! I am very close with my family and had never been away from them for months at a time. As well as I was going to have to deal with not having the comfort of them being able to get to me quickly if I needed anything, like if my wheelchair needed to be fixed. Back then, I was still dependent on wheelchair for long distance.

    I could have easily declined my acceptance and gone to school closer to my family but I knew sticking with my initial decision was going to be the better choice in the end. Not that I wasn’t independent before going away to school but the distance and separation made me more capable physically. It also prepared me for a lot that I have had to deal with. Even though going to school in Texas would have been a good decision for a lot of reasons, sticking to my initial choice was definitely the better choice of the two!

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