Josh Karney's blister
Josh Karney's blister Credit: Josh Karney

Each week we ask you to show us something. This week it’s JOSH KARNEY’S BLISTER. Got something to show us?

Many of us take for granted the ability to leisurely lather our hair in the shower. Lincoln Park Boat Club rower Josh Karney did too, until he was challenged and tormented by a popped dime-size blister on the inside of his right middle finger.

Karney has been an active member of LPBC since 2005, but he began rowing as a sophomore at Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania. Having spent the previous decade as a competitive swimmer, Karney was accustomed to sports that appear fluid and almost effortless to the spectator, but actually require an enormous amount of strength, endurance, and discipline.

“My coach told us that all the time we spent erging (indoor rowing on the machines), lifting, running stairs, [going to] spinning classes and water practices boils down to 16 hours of training being equal to one minute of a race,” he says.

The blister appeared during an informal regatta between LPBC and the University of Chicago Crew this past October. The rowers began on the Chicago River at the North Avenue bridge, continued north until the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette, and rowed a grueling 13 miles back.

Karney admits he is “crazy” for loving the sport of rowing. Despite the agonizing burning sensation in his legs during races and the caustic sting of burst blisters rubbing furiously against his oar, he sees a beauty in rowing.

“In that time between finishing a stroke and preparing for the next stroke the only noise is the sound of the water rushing under the boat,” he says. “Knowing that you are experiencing the same feeling as everyone in your boat is an amazing thing.”