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Course Correction

A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX
Narrated by: Janis Ian
Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
4 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 10 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.

©2015 Virginia A. Gilder (P)2016 Virginia A. Gilder

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Every young woman should read this book

I had the pleasure of meeting Ginny Gilder and heard her talk about this book. I also started rowing in my 50's because I was not allowed to enjoy sports as a young woman as all the money went to men's sports pre Title IX. I went to a poor high school and the only sports for the girls was swimming and gymnastics. Ginny shows us not only what it has been like to be a leader in rowing but also in her life. She shares her scars as well as her successes. I thought the book was terrific.

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Gilder's coming of age story is compelling

Janis Ian has a sing-songy way of reading Gilder's story that's annoying at times, but the story itself is interesting and compelling. I found myself wanting to drive places so I could continue to listen in my car!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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a coming up and out story

beautiful story of personal, physical, social and emotional resilience told on the foundation of rowing sport. contemporary coming out story that reminds us to be who we are gay or not, athletic or not, man or woman. so proud of those who paved the path for female athletes.

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A History Lesson and Story of Personal Triumph

When I read a description that compared this book to The Boys in the Boat, an audiobook that I loved, I was skeptical. And when I listened to the first hour or two and learned a lot more about the author’s dysfunctional family upbringing, I wondered whether I was reading a rowing book or a tell-all psychological profile.

I am so glad that I stuck with the book. It is absolutely terrific. As the story of Ginny Gilder’s crew activity unfolded, I understood why she had gone into such detail on her growing up. So many of the adventures, the family dynamic, and the dysfunction played directly into her pursuit of athletic excellence.

The story is a gripping story of her pursuit of Olympic gold and finding herself. So much of her crew experiences carry over to her personal discovery, and she unlocked so much of her personal discovery only when she viewed her personal situation through the lens of her crew experience.

But this book is still more. It brings readers back to the time when women’s athletic equality was in its infancy. I can relate, as Ginny and I are close in age (she’s actually four weeks younger). I remember when the NCAA didn’t sanction women’s sports and the Olympics had few women’s competitions. I recall when women’s basketball was organized through the AIAW (Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women in the 1970s, when Wayland Baptist (the Flying Queens!), Immaculata, and Cheyney State were perennial top teams. I remember even as late as 1984 when a woman with whom I graduated from college, Joan Benoit, became the first woman to win a gold medal in the Olympic marathon (coincidentally, the same Olympiad in which the author competed).

Ginny Gilder experienced that inequality as the athletic world transitioned to full support of women’s athletics. She details the struggle that her Yale crew endured to secure the same level of funding, physical resources, and other advantages that men’s teams enjoyed. In this sense, her book is an important lesson, akin to books that highlight the segregation of major athletic conferences prior to the 1960s.

Throughout the book, the author provides hints of the many meanings of the title. By the time you’re finished listening, you’ll understand the multiple course corrections to which she refers.

Guys, this isn’t a “chick” book. It’s a well written (albeit with half a dozen or so grammatical mistakes that I didn’t expect a Yale-educated author or her editor to make) book that combines a history lesson and a personal drama that is compelling and eye-opening.