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The song went your head.

Maybe that’s why it’s called “a round.” You know how it works: one group starts to sing and, when they get to a cer­tain point, the next group be­gins anew and so on, un­til the end­ings lap like waves. But, as in the new book “Course Cor­rec­tion” by Ginny Gilder, the things we plan don’t al­ways go mer­rily, mer­rily, mer­rily.

The first time Ginny Gilder ever saw a row­ing team in ac­tion, she was 16 and didn’t quite know what she was see­ing. Ev­ery­thing about that boat, its row­ers, and the mo­tion spoke of seren­ity and con­trol—things Gilder lacked in her young life. She was “a goner.” Two years later, while en­rolled at Yale, she fi­nally got a chance to try the sport, though the women’s row­ing coach strongly dis­cour­aged her. Gilder was phys­i­cally shorter than is op­ti­mal for a rower and, be­cause Ti­tle IX (en­sur­ing an end to gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion at fed­er­ally funded in­sti­tu­tions) had only re­cently passed, she’d never se­ri­ously en­gaged in sports be­fore. She was out of shape and in­ex­pe­ri­enced, but determined.

She started train­ing, run­ning, and prac­tic­ing. Within six weeks, she was com­pet­ing.

“Ev­ery­thing hurt,” she says, “in­clud­ing my butt. My hands sported new blis­ters, my lungs felt like they had been rubbed with sand­pa­per... I had never felt hap­pier.”

For the rest of that year, Gilder threw her­self into her new­found love, barely so­cial­iz­ing ex­cept with team­mates at work­outs, train­ing, and com­pe­ti­tions. Row­ing helped her fo­cus and for­get about the home life she’d es­caped: her fam­ily’s wealth, her fa­ther’s in­fi­delity, and her mother’s men­tal health is­sues. Row­ing helped hide her self-con­scious­ness and lack of self-es­teem.

She saw her team­mates swag­ger and con­fi­dence, and she saw two of them try out for the US Olympic team in Mon­treal. At least one team­mate was gay and didn’t try to hide it; says Gilder, “I couldn’t imag­ine be­ing that bold or com­fort­able…” Her self-doubts were ex­ac­er­bated by fam­ily naysay­ers and by

‘round and

‘round in

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