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Harmony.  Balance.  Rhythm. There you have it. That is what life is all about...

George Pocock

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The 1936 Washington Rowing Team: Tradition and Trust


The 1936 Olympic victory in Berlin by the University of Washington crew team -  brought alive by Daniel James Brown's best-seller The Boys In The Boat - remains one of the most compelling and gripping sports stories of the 20th century. 

Behind these nine young men stood the Seattle community, and a foundation of support created long before these men arrived on campus. It was that setting - even in the depths of the Great Depression - where master boat-builder George Pocock, and head coach Al Ulbrickson, spent their days teaching the values of team over self, hard work, camaraderie, and rowing to win.

When I wrote the men's 100-year history in 2003 - and more recently the women's history - these timeless values emerged over and over again. It was that theme that led to my first speaking engagement in 2013, and with each year becomes more relevant in our world:  common values, shared goals, teamwork and trust lie at the heart of every successful endeavor.

I was fortunate enough to meet and talk with Joe Rantz, Bob Moch, and Roger Morris in the early 2000's. I have sat down with 100's of others that throughout the years have come through this program.  What is the common element?  It is a wish to be there again, to have that common focus and the shared desire for excellence, and to experience it with their teammates one more time.

But there also is an enduring sense of gratitude. A gratitude for the values they learned and the confidence they built through rowing, and the "swing" that defines eight rowers in perfect harmony - a lifelong lesson that is so unique to this sport. The Boys in the Boat had it.  Let me share it with you. 

4 - 024_edited.jpg was originally launched in 2001, and has now become the primary source of the Washington men's and women's history written by Eric Cohen

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