The Pursuit of Excellence

I was reminded of the price of excellence, or mastery as it is sometimes referred, last night when I attended a RUSH concert at Copp’s Coliseum in Hamilton. I have been a RUSH fan since I was a young teenager and have seen them live many times. However, having garnered seats that put us directly beside the stage, I was truly struck by the level of “mastery” that these three musicians have attained in their own disciplines. As all three of the bands’ members approach sixty years of age, many critics now consider their level of musicianship to be at its highest. Whether you’re a fan or not, one can’t help but appreciate how many hours of practice and rehearsal have contributed to the level of ease with which RUSH execute each song, perhaps even each note. Malcolm Gladwell would argue that Geddy, Alex and Neil have undoubtedly reached their 10,000 hours and then some.

In rowing, the same is true. In fact, I have never known a sport that has as strong a correlation between acquired boat-speed and the “work” dedicated to that speed. It really is a simple equation; the more time one spends training and practicing properly, the faster one goes.

As we come to the end of our first month on the water here in St.Catharines, the Ridley rowers are busy pursuing their own definition of excellence. Ultimately that pursuit will define the season for each crew. They most certainly won’t attain 10,000 hours of practice, but it’s a process… it’s always a process!


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