Chapter 1 - Catch
I endured my first three days of college surrounded by budding Nobel Prize winners, already-published authors, and nonchalant geniuses speaking multiple languages in the course of a single conversation. I crept into my bunk bed for three nights straight, plagued by panic and vivid dreams of walking naked on campus. I woke every morning to a crowd of thoughts clamoring to present more evidence of my mistake. Too young. Not smart enough. Unprepared. Not Ivy League material. Whatever delusion of adequacy my admission to my father's alma mater had encouraged evaporated like morning dew, and I was left to panic before the stark, unblinking truth: I was an interloper.
Course Correction by Ginny Gilder is one of 20 books in the Big Book Giveaway going on this month. With the Olympic Games starting in a few weeks, I thought it was an excellent book to feature.
Wild meets The Boys in the Boat, a memoir about the quest for Olympic gold and the triumph of love over fear
Forty years ago, when a young Ginny Gilder stood on the edge of Boston’s Charles River and first saw a rowing shell in motion, it was love at first sight. Yearning to escape her family history, which included her mother’s emotional unraveling and her father’s singular focus on investment acumen as the ultimate trophy, Gilder discovered rowing at a pivotal moment in her life. Having grown up in an era when girls were only beginning to abandon the sidelines as observers and cheerleaders to become competitors and national champions, Gilder harbored no dreams of athletic stardom. Once at Yale, however, her operating assumptions changed nearly overnight when, as a freshman in 1975, she found her way to the university’s rowing tanks in the gymnasium’s cavernous basement.
From her first strokes as a novice, Gilder found herself in a new world, training with Olympic rowers and participating in the famous Title IX naked protest, which helped define the movement for equality in college sports. Short, asthmatic, and stubborn, Gilder made the team against all odds and for the next ten years devoted herself to answering a seemingly simple question: how badly do you want to go fast?
Course Correction recounts the physical and psychological barriers Gilder overcame as she transformed into an elite athlete who reached the highest echelon of her sport. Set against the backdrop of unprecedented cultural change, Gilder’s story personalizes the impact of Title IX, illustrating the life-changing lessons learned in sports but felt far beyond the athletic arena. Heartfelt and candid, Gilder recounts lessons learned from her journey as it wends its way from her first glimpse of an oar to the Olympic podium in 1984, carries her through family tragedy, strengthens her to accept her true sexual identity, and ultimately frees her to live her life on her terms.
What others are saying about Course Correction
I found it a compelling, honest and riveting read. ~ Joyce Sullivan
This was one of those books that you prolong finishing not because it's bad, but because it's so good and you don't want to finish it. ~ Emily Farrar
This is a wonderful story about overcoming challenges and perseverance. ~ Betsy Mitchell
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