When walking down the halls of the infamous L-building at Granada Hills Charter High School, 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 that dozens of students smile and greet through each 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 has been 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 he shortly 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 finished in fourth place. Despite the loss, Korb is still proud to have participated in this, and other competitions, all 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 requiring perseverance. The extremely engaging sport can cause huge blisters from continuous contact with the oars, among other serious injuries.
During a spring break rowing trip down to Georgia, Korb’s boat hit a large wave, and a 12-feet 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 elected 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 looks back upon 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.