It was semi-finals. I was rowing in the last 300 meters of the race. My legs burned, I couldn't see, and the only things I could hear were the sound of the oarlocks clicking and the coxswain's voice. We were in close second place right behind our rival team.
It was at this moment when the coxswain said it. He reminded us that our boat did not make finals during this same race last year. Time stopped. It was as if everything that I had ever worked for in life didn't matter if I didn't win this race. My legs stopped burning, my eyes focused, and the only thing between me and that finish line were 250 meters of unforgiving water. That one sentence changed that race forever for me and for the rest of the rowers in that boat.
I believe in the coxswain's voice, the unrelenting motivation brought by a few simple words to the mind of a living machine. I believe in the power of the right words at the right time. It is these words that push us to be our best in life, and drive us to succeed. It is motivation when we most need it that makes us thrive in life.
Everybody knows that feeling, too. It's the feeling when you think you're about to give up, but something happens or somebody tells you something that makes you try harder than you were trying before. You suddenly find your inner strength not to quit, and to push through the hard times. When it feels like all is lost, your heart begins to race and nothing can stop you.
I've been a coxswain. I've said those few words. To me, it's an idea. To the rowers, it's a few gravelly words muttered through a cox box that makes all the difference.
I believe in the coxswain's voice, the glimmer of light in an enveloping darkness.
I believe in the coxswain's voice, the shred of hope in an otherwise overwhelming situation.