Êtes-vous Prêts? Partez!

Are you ready?  Go!

I remember hearing those words to start nearly all my crew races years ago.  Occasionally, a starter used English, but the French was well, French.  Loved it.  It set my sport apart.

I just finished the amazing book and story, The Boys in the Boat.   In my last post I highly recommended the book even before I finished the full story and well, as I finish the book, my recommendation is even stronger.

Truly an amazing and all so true story.  What these American oarsmen had to overcome to get to the Olympic final and then the description of their final race in the Olympics is the stuff of legend. They heard the words, “Êtes-vous Prêts” and indeed they were ready.  With “Partez” it all came together and they flew.

Do I admit this? Yes I do. I cried a bit as I read the words describing their victory.  I cried not for the victory alone, but for the knowledge I share with these rowers.  There is salvation in the boat.  We can accomplish so much together if we sit in the boat and pull.  We break through and reach new heights once we realize that the person pulling in front and behind matter.  Their success is my own and our success.

Enough of my words.  I feel inadequate to say more.  George Pocock, the zen-master boat builder and sage for the boys in the boat says it best:

Harmony, balance, and rhythm. They’re the three things that stay with you your whole life. Without them civilization is out of whack. And that’s why an oarsman, when he goes out in life, he can fight it, he can handle life. That’s what he gets from rowing.

Join me in the boat. Sit tall and prepare your mind and body.  Handle your oar with a light touch.  Think balance and power.  Add to the rhythm as we move together and yes, reach harmony as we swing.

Are you ready?  Go!  … or so much better in the French, Êtes-vous prêts? Partez!

Welcome to the boat. WeMoveTogether.

2 thoughts on “Êtes-vous Prêts? Partez!

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  1. Share your enthusiasm for this book, tho I’m only 200pp in. Rowers will identify: the prologue got to me, as the essence of whats being discussed is intangible. Though it appears author Brown is not a veteran oarsman himself, the acute will appreciate their struggle, one that relates to so many other endeavors.

    1. I agree that as someone who is not a rower, the author did a fine job discussing the details of rowing and racing. The book is so good and the last chapters are wonderful. The author is great with detail. I felt I was there for that race in the Olympics. As a former Cal oarsman, I also loved the added rivalry chapters between Washington and Cal.
      – Michael

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