Course Correction: A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX (Paperback)
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“Beautiful and important on many levels, Course Correction is about rowing and so much more . . . Ultimately it is about the transforming power of love, and, damnit all, it made me cry.” —Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat
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.
About the Author
Ginny Gilder is an Olympic silver medalist in rowing, the founder and CEO of an investment business, and co-owner of the Seattle Storm. The mother of three children and stepmother of two, Gilder lives with her wife, Lynn, and their two poodles in Seattle, Washington.
“Beautiful and important on many levels, Course Correction is about rowing and so much more—hope and hopelessness, fear and courage, loss and redemption. Ultimately it is about the transforming power of love, and, damnit all, it made me cry.”—Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat
“Written with poetic grace and true grit, Gilder’s story—of battling herself as much as her competition—will resonate with readers of all abilities and aspirations. A powerful testament to the impact of sport on our lives.”—Billie Jean King
“This is a compelling account of one woman’s sacrifices to be an elite athlete while also coming to terms with her personal life at a time when ‘coming out of the closet’ was done at considerable peril. A good choice for women’s-studies and sports-history collections.—Booklist
“Filled with lyrical descriptions of rowing on the water and detailed portrayals of the workouts she endured to build up her strength and stamina, the narrative flows with the passion the author feels for her sport… The author's ardent story is one of struggle and triumph, of shrugging off the naysayers to follow a dream to its end, whether good or bad, and of following the heart. A passionate memoir of a woman rower who battled numerous odds in search of becoming the best in her sport.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Highly competitive athletes like Ginny Gilder have a gift for tolerating pain and ignoring adversity. They accept these things as the price they pay for greatness. These habits of mind and body serve us well in many aspects of our lives, but not in all aspects of our lives. Course Correction is about taking time to heal and exploring the joy that lies beyond adversity.”—Tori Murden McClure, first woman to row alone across the Atlantic Ocean and author of A Pearl in the Storm
“Ginny Gilder not only shares her journey of becoming a world-class athlete, but of growing up—the searing self-talk of a teenage girl, her homage to the sport of rowing that both gave and helped make meaning of her life. A beautifully written memoir of a dream come true.” —Whitney Johnson, author of Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream
“Course Correction is not only a wonderful narrative about what it took to succeed as an elite female rower in the Title IX era, it is a complex study of an individual who struggled to come to terms with herself in the aftermath of her own success. Beautifully written, this memoir will not fail to hold you in its powerful wake, page after page delivering the wisdom that only deep reflection and experience can bring.”—Daniel J. Boyne, author of The Red Rose Crew: A True Story of Women, Winning, and the Water
“Ginny Gilder writes with an artist’s eye and an athlete’s power, insight, and finesse. Course Correction is a brilliant quest for courage, excellence, and ultimately love. Exhilarating and inspiring. Simply put, I loved this book!”—Lynne Cox, author of Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer and Grayson
“Whether you’re a wetbob or landlubber, Ginny Gilder’s lyrical descriptions of rowing will have you yearning to be on the water, while her gripping life story will keep you eagerly turning the pages. She writes as she has lived—courageously, honestly, and thoughtfully. An oar-inspiring read!”—Roz Savage, first woman to row solo across three oceans, author of Stop Drifting, Start Rowing
“The 1970s were the breakthrough decade for Title IX and for Ginny Gilder and they both just kept getting stronger. Here's a personal glimpse, with a few course corrections along the way, of what the revolution in women's sports looks like from the perspective of one of its pioneers.”—Susan Ware, author of Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports
“Course Correction is the story of one woman’s heartfelt struggle to be true to herself despite a boatload of obstacles. Part memoir, part sports history, the work is also a love letter to rowing and to Yale, to the author’s parents and her siblings, to her partners and her children, to Olympians, past, present and future, and to female athletes everywhere.”—Madeleine Blais, author of In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle