When you want to be IN the Story

“It would be useless to try to segregate outstanding members of Washington’s varsity shell, just as it would be impossible to try to pick a certain note in a beautifully composed song.  
All were merged into one smoothly working machine; they were, in fact, a poem of motion, a symphony of swinging blades.”
Clarence Dirks for the Seattle Times, cited in “The Boys in The Boat” by Daniel James Brown.
Have you ever read a story that was so moving and life-like that you were compelled to go to the source of where it all happened?
My husband and I had that experience recently when we made an afternoon field trip to the University of Washington Shellhouse in Seattle. Daniel Brown’s story of the motley crew of 9 men, in particular, Joe Rantz, recalls the history of not only that Olympic year–1936–but the history of Seattle and the rest of the country in the post Depression era.  
Brown’s words are inspiring, made even moreso by the investment of heart and spirit from George Yeoman Pocock, the team’s shellhouse hero (and the namesake of the UW Shellhouse today) whose quotes of wisdom are spread through every chapter.

This is the women’s team (we only saw two men that day in a ‘Two Boat’.)

“To see a winning crew in action is to witness a perfect harmony in which everything is right…That is the formula for endurance and success: rowing with the heart and head as well as physical strength.” George Yeoman Pocock, BITB p. 321

Montlake Bridge, Seattle WA and the Montlake Cut, where today’s crews race
Encouragement from days gone by….still speaking loud and clear.
(by the way, the 1936 crew won the Olympic Gold Medal that year).
Who are the {folks} in YOUR boat?

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5 thoughts on “When you want to be IN the Story

  1. My daughter gave me The Boys in the Boat after she read it. 'LOVED IT!!! (I believe George Yeoman Pocock was a Christian, therefore we know the Source of his insightful wisdom.) What a delight to see where their glorious team-story began!

  2. “Exquisite, skimming precision' is a perfect summation of the process, Laurie. (I tweeted Daniel James Brown my post 🙂

  3. A field trip, what a huge compliment to the author. I hope he sees this post! Your photos and thoughts make me wonder again about adding the book to my reading list. I've always wondered how it would feel to be part of that exquisite, skimming precision.

  4. “The Lord of the Rings” series is a daunting read, indeed. BITB takes awhile because Brown is an incredibly verbose writer–descriptions and details abound. My husband and I actually read it together and it took us a year to read it. It will be worth the wait when you get to it 🙂

  5. I've had this book on my to-read list for awhile, but its size has intimidated me. 🙂 Maybe after I finish reading The Lord of the Rings series I'll pick it up. Thanks for sharing, Jody!

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