Fitness Magazine

The Mystery of the Disappearing Win

By Girlontheriver @girlontheriver

The mystery of the disappearing winSo, at last – after two long years of disappointment and frustration – I finally had my first win. Anyone who’s been following Girl on the River will know what a big deal this is for me, for it’s been a long time in coming. It was, in fact, the first race of any sort I’d ever won. Ever since that first sports day when, aged 5, I came last in the 20 metre sprint, I’ve been the one thundering along at the back with the Tail End Charlies. But not this time. This time – at last – I was in the winning crew.

Or was I? Because here’s the thing. I’m not actually sure if we did win.

We were racing in the morning division and had to leave before the results were posted. We had families to feed, work to catch up on and even lambs to deliver (we be country folk). It had felt like a good, strong race; we’d kept time, maintained a good rating and felt OK about how it went, so most of us were happy to leave the results ’till later. We weren’t going to be in line for a medal either way as the event only handed them out where there were three crews in the category.

By the time we’d got back home, we’d convinced ourselves we’d lost. We’d been up against a club that often beat us, and even allowing for a hefty handicap (we were Masters D to their Masters B), we weren’t at all sure we’d caught them.

But then, just as we arrived back at the club, the text came through. “You won!”

I was walking on air. All the doubts and anxieties about my rowing miraculously melted away and for a glorious 24 hours I finally believed that I could cut it as a rower. I was up there with the Big Girls in the squad. I wasn’t – as some have ungenerously suggested – a jinx. I was a bona fide, proper rower with a win under my belt.

I floated through to the next afternoon, when I thought I’d check the results to see how the other crews did. And that’s when the bubble burst. There, in black and white, was the name of our opponents on the leaderboard. It seemed we hadn’t won after all.

I’m still waiting to find out what happened. Did someone misread the preliminary results? Were we the victims of a clerical error or a slip of the keyboard? Or was the race given to our opponents by default because we’d skipped off home? I just don’t know.

Of course it shouldn’t matter. In an ideal world, my confidence and happiness would not rest on the results of one obscure race towards the end of head season. And maybe one day, when I grow up, that’ll be how it works. Until then, though, be gentle with me. I’m still dreaming about the one that got away.

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