Turning 40 7/40

I didn’t know your mind was your biggest muscle nor that you could strengthen it. I didn’t know to be physically superior to you the previous day took strengthening the mind first, and the body would follow. I didn’t know there was a force that was greater than oneself nor that it could compel you beyond your capabilities.

Until Lou taught me.

That Autumn of 1997 she collected a group of scrappy, enthusiastic girls at Ohio State to teach some rowing technique and LOTS of heart. She would recite the mantra, ‘You’re only scratching the surface’ when we would hop onto the ergs to pull until our bodies burned.

There’s still more!

You can’t even imagine what you’re capable of!

She taught us those maxims were true by making us physically push past what we thought was possible. Maybe the magic was inside us as a motley crew. Maybe she holds the magic and deposited it into our collection of too fat, too tall, too skinny, too small. I don’t know. But I’ve never seen it recreated. The magic, the force, the love that was greater than us. We loved her more than ourselves. We loved each other more than ourselves. That love compelled me beyond any limit, mental or physical, that might have stopped me if it was just for myself. But I loved them so much, I would sacrifice anything for them. I wouldn’t let them down.

Being an athlete under her leadership changed my life trajectory. For the better.

She was a single woman when she spent that year with us. She & her husband, Chris, are now sending daughters off to college. She continues sowing love and excellence where she goes. There’s oodles of women across the eastern seaboard that I’m sure echo my experience with Lou.

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