The Women in the Boat

Damn, I love my sport. Scary, but let me count the years … 29 years ago I raced my last race in my final year at college, a victory on a hot day on a quiet lake. A lifetime ago.

Yet my sport stays with me. “Once a rower, always a rower” is a phrase I heard many time from the old-timers all those years ago, yet only now I understand. An old-timer myself.

As such I look forward to watching the Rowing event every four years at the Olympics. I remember traveling south to watch the rowing events at the Los Angeles Olympic Games of 1984. Over the next seven Olympics I did my best to catch any rowing event on the network broadcast. I remember the days of VHS Tapes and long slow recordings only to fast forward through hours to find minutes of rowing competition.

For 2016 and the technology now available, everything has changed. I can watch all the rowing events on demand through my TV and on an app loaded onto my iPad. I get all the rowing I want, all in high-definition. I encourage you to watch some of the competition as well. Few images are as thrilling as a side shot of six boats with eight rowers each sprinting across your television screen. A symphony of motion, but more on that later.

The rowing Olympic Regatta is now over. While I enjoyed many of the races, for me the standout was the US Women’s Eight. They won their third straight Olympic Gold. They won all major competitions throughout that period as well. An amazing result with strong competition from around the world. Halfway through the race the Americans were out of the lead. The coxswain, yelled out, “We are the American Women’s Eight and we do not lose!” They dug deep and powered to victory.

I was there with them, all those years erased. The pull of the oar. The synch with your team. The drive to not let them down. To dig deeper and push through the pain. Awesome stuff. Once a rower, always a rower. I am proud of the US Women’s eight, a great boat and story. I encourage you to read more on their triumph here with this Sports Illustrated article.

Also this week I watched the documentary “The Boys of ’36“, the amazing true story of the American Men’s Eight that raced in Nazi Germany and beat the favored German Boat with Hitler himself in attendance. The back story of these young men is extraordinary and I highly recommend this documentary found on PBS, American Experience.  This story is also a best-selling book, “The Boys in the Boat“. This book is so well written and the full story is stuff of legend. Do check it out. Here is a link to my previous blog entry on the book (Check it out here).

“It is a great art is rowing. The finest art there is. A symphony of motion. When you are doing well, why it is nearing perfection.  When you reach perfection you are touching the divine. It touches the you of you which is your soul.” – George Pocock


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