Sweep rowing isn't like riding a bicycle. Once you get past training wheels, find balance and work under your own power, you're all set for life long recreational enjoyment. Doesn't matter how long you've been away from it, just as long as you know the basics, all you've gotta do is to get on and ride. You can still get from here to there without much muscle memory recall. And you don't have other cyclists depending upon you to get the bike down the road.
Not so with rowing. At least for me. The sheer technicality of the sport can make the most conditioned athlete bi-polar. Last season, after about a month's absence from practicing at least three to four times a week, I returned eager to get back in my seat and row. I missed the exercise and being in the fresh air. It didn't take long to realize my absence had affected my performance. Despite the knowledge, the conditioning, the weeks of training, the desire, I was back to old muscle memory and bad habits...rushing the slide (the encroachment of your legs too early to the catch, or to the position of push off.) and other idiosyncrasies peculiar to my ability to learn this sport.
It's a mind game, really. Good days and bad days. Once one thing is addressed, another flaw emerges. Sometimes at the same time, sometimes without warning, but always SOMETHING to be conquered. And on top of it, it's not just an individual journey (unless you are a sculler), it is a collective one. So on my bad day, everyone else has gotta match my ability (or inability). Interesting athletic concept ---performing to the weakest instead of the strongest. The true reflection of a team sport.
Some days I feel discouraged and defeated. Others exhilarated and accomplished. That day I felt tested and challenged. Can I ever get to the place where I can row like I ride a bike???
Maybe this season.....