Lisa Fish

Southern Ontario

Lisa Fish is a rower who loved to go fast and push herself, she is also someone who faced, and navigated very disappointing results as an athlete. Trying out for the Junior National Team she was from a non-existent club, in a non-rowing part of the province, and she was the slowest person in the field, to the point where people didn’t want her in their boat, because she affected their finish, she was so disruptive. That was the first try out though. It was in the fall, and she had only ever sculled (two oars/small boat), never swept (one oar/big boat). She continued to train regardless, and in the Summer, after she hadn’t made the team, the Junior National Team coach called her because the top qualifier in the boat had been injured beyond recovery, and they needed a replacement, and she was the one they wanted. She went to Germany to represent her country.

After a few years of high school success, she landed an athletic scholarship to an American university. She went to study biology- and she’d work hard to receive B’s on tests, but the grades were curved, so the kids who scored below her ended up dropping courses, and her grade would suffer. Her coach wanted her to switch majors, her grades weren’t good enough. She was injured though, and her coach was not understanding about this either. Lisa struggled to do her best in adversity until she was hospitalized with depression; a condition which runs in her family, and cost her father his own life at his own hands when she was only a babe.

She decided she needed to let go of the prestige and financial convenience of the scholarship and hold onto the integrity of taking care of her body, and studying what she wanted to. She forfeited her scholarship and went home to Canada. She has continued to row and has been a Henley Gold Medalist since, while she studies to become a nurse.

Throughout her struggle and triumphs she has been humble, and modest. She has never complained about the situation, and she has had the courage to change the things which make her unhappy. She is a wonderful athlete, which is a side product of her stand up character, and heart of integrity.

Submitted by:
Julia Nelson


Personal experience

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