By Shaneli Mirpuri
When walking down the halls of the infamous L-building, you would never expect to walk past a former rower of the United States national team. Geography and economics teacher Ronald Korb is a constant sight in the hall as dozens of students smile and greet the teacher within a single passing period every day. However, even most of his former students are unaware of his past athletic experiences.
Korb started rowing when his friends encouraged him to join their high school team. From then on, he fell in love with the sport.
Besides the sheer enjoyment Korb received from the sport, he quickly discovered that he was also a great rower. Korb’s high school coach Larry Laszlo transferred him to a college team at Northeastern University in Boston, where soon enough he received an athletic scholarship to attend the school.
In high school, Korb also earned himself the opportunity to travel with the national team and compete in Sweden. They made it to the finals and reached fourth place. Despite the loss, Korb is still proud to have participated in the event, along with other competitions with remarkable competitors.
“I always loved rowing. College athletics is a step above high school, so it was fun to travel more and row in a lot of new places. With the national team, the sport becomes a lot more cutthroat and competitive,” Korb said.
As with all sports, rowing comes with its fair share of trials which requires perseverance. The extremely engaging sport can cause huge blisters from continuous contact with the oars and other serious injuries.
During a spring break rowing trip down to Georgia, Korb’s boat hit a large wave, and a twelve feet long oar hit Korb in the side, causing him to pull many muscles between his ribs.
“Rowing is both the ultimate team sport and also a very individual sport. You have eight to nine guys trying to work as one, unified body. Your body is under extreme duress and you are in complete agony the entire time,” Korb said.
A few of Korb’s friends and teammates went on to compete in the Olympics, but Korb preferred to steer away from the intense training and serious competition. Though he loved the sport, he chose to give it up in exchange for developing a successful and stable career.
However, Korb still holds the sport close to his heart and remembers the memories of his rowing days fondly.
“There’s something peaceful about rowing. We would row on the Charles River all day, just watching the city or countryside go by. It was like living in your own little peaceful world,” Korb said.