"Everyone has long-term goals. But if you focus more on stringing together short-term goals you can actually get where you’re going."

"I do run. I’m a lower case 'r' runner. I’ve never been a runner, and I probably never will classify as a runner. But I love the efficiency of the workout you get from running. You can do it anywhere. You can do it in a short time. It doesn’t require preparation. Put one foot in front of the other and go. I like the simplicity of it.

 

Due to a birth defect my right leg was much shorter than my left leg and was not going to catch up.  My parents made the difficult decision to amputate my right foot when I was four.  I have worn a prosthesis ever since, and grew up playing hockey and lacrosse. I always gravitated towards team sports. In 2018, I started rowing.  I have three coworkers at Fidelity that had rowed in high school and college, so I had heard great stories of the sport from them, and just decided: let me sign up for “Intro to Rowing” at CRI.  During 2018 I basically took every rowing class I could and competed in the Head of Charles Regatta.  Then I got invited to a US Para Rowing training camp in Chula Vista, California in January 2019.  This is where the US Rowing Women's team trains in the winter.  They have won Gold in the 8+ at the last three Olympics and all of a sudden I'm training in the next lane over.  It was inspiring to see their professionalism; obviously athleticism and determined focus. That was really an impactful camp for me.  After winning Trials in the PR3 Men's Pair my partner and I represented the US at the 2019 Rowing World Championships.  We came in 6th and learned a lot from the experience. 

 

Everyone has long-term goals. But if you focus more on stringing together short-term goals you can actually get where you’re going.  That might evolve, but you actually have the ability to affect capital “C” change by focusing on the short term and doing a good job at what you are currently focused on. In many ways, that is what good rowers do.  Good rowers focus on the stroke that they are in. That is all they focus on. Make the stroke you are taking right now the best stroke that you can. It isn’t going to be perfect. Never perfect. But you focus on that stroke and that stroke only. When that stroke is done, you recover and focus on the next one. That type of short term focus on excellence in the moment can be helpful in other sports and life in general.

 

I don’t like the term disability. To me, I classify it as a disadvantage. The mobility that I have on my right side is disadvantaged compared to a person that has a “normal” right leg.  Somebody asked me if I had a handicapped sticker. No, I don’t have one.  I don’t really like labels. I’m Andy, and I’m here to give my best effort. My focus is definitely rowing, but I’m generally game for anything." 

-Andy, Bionic5K athlete