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Course Correction

A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX

Author: Ginny Gilder

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.
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“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.” 

“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

“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

“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

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 

From Chapter 1

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.

I was trudging across Yale’s Old Campus to the Branford DiningHall for lunch on my fourth day when I saw a long wooden object inside the High Street gate. The shape looked vaguely familiar, although it seemed out of place. I walked up to take a closer look. Several metal triangles poked out from its middle. Its smooth, rounded bottom rested in a pair of scruffy canvas slings. Another fish out of water.

A rowing shell.

For the first time since I arrived on campus, my chattering anxiety quieted. I reached out and touched the varnished wood, ran my hand along the grain and felt its glistening smoothness. I closed my eyes. I could hear the splash of oars and imagine flecks of water cooling my skin as the boat rocked me gently.

A tall man with a faded John Deere baseball cap perched high on his head was handing out fliers and cheerfully calling out to passersby, “Hi there, you want to learn to row?” He had a long regal nose, proportionately prominent, matched by broad fleshy lips. His cleanshaven face was tanned to a burnished red, proof of time served in theweather. His blue jeans sat loosely on his hips and his long-sleeved, fraying denim work shirt was stained with oily grease. He talked only to girls, and only some. He spoke warmly and respectfully, inviting without pushing. He seemed to go for the taller ones and avoided the heavier-set girls. Most people stopped and listened politely, took the flyer he offered, and walked on.

I introduced myself and smiled. “Hi, I want to learn to row.”

His warmth evaporated; his forehead creased as he tugged his baseball cap down to hood his eyes. His sudden, sullen retreat surprised me.

“Uh, you do?” he replied.

Hearing his reticence—not exactly the first no-confidence vote I’d ever heard—I felt something inside lock me into place, defiance clicking into determination. The universe had finally nudged my way and I was not going to squander this chance. I remembered sunlight dancing on water, the rush of calm that surrounded me as I watched those boats glide up the Charles River, like a soft embrace that I could lean into without falling. Nor did I forget the smoothness of the strokes and the orderly repetition of the rowing motion. Again I felt the stirring of an alien feeling: was this hope?

I said, “Yeah, I do want to row. So how do I start?”

He took his cap off and ran his hand through his thinning hair, then plopped the hat back on his head and adjusted the brim downward again. “Um, let’s see...,” he said.

Nat Case, the varsity women’s crew coach, behaved entirely in character that first meeting. At 5´7?, I was a runt as a rower. Nat ascribed to the belief that mass moved boats: in choosing recruits, he sought out the advantage that height conveyed. I would discover he prized it above other, less obvious but more valuable traits.

I pried out of him that learn-to-row sessions had already started in the gym and would continue every afternoon for the rest of the week. I gave him my name and made sure he wrote it on the schedule for the following day. I held out my hand for a flyer until he gave me one.

“Thanks,” I said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” My voice, perhaps, but the universe had spoken.

Prologue Changing Course IX

Part I Catch

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Part II Drive

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Part III Release

Chapter 16

Part IV Recovery

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20



Bibliographic Essay

Course Correction

ISBN: 978-080709036-7
Publication Date: 4/12/2016
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $20.00
Format: Paperback
Availability: In stock.