Friday, September 16, 2016

The Boys in the Boat - Daniel James Brown

This is one of the best books I've read in a long time, it is one of the best books I have ever read.  Below are 129 chosen quotes followed by an index to help in finding specific topics.  Read the book, check out the quotes. 

The Boys in the Boat
 Daniel James Brown
 1. Pocock on the Beauty of the Sport (Prolog): In a sport like this—hard work, not much glory, but still popular in every century—well, there must be some beauty which ordinary men can’t see, but extraordinary men do. p. 1
2. Pocock on unseen values (Ch 1):  Having rowed myself since the tender age of twelve and having been around rowing ever since, I believe I can speak authoritatively on what we may call the unseen values of rowing—social, moral, and spiritual values of this oldest of chronicled sports in the world.  No didactic teaching will place these values in a young man’s soul.  He has to get them by his own observation and lessons.  P. 7
3. History – The Great Depression: Along the waterfront, seaplanes from the Gorst Air Transport Company rose slowly from the surface of Puget Sound and droned westward, flying low under the cloud cover, beginning their short hops over the naval shipyard at Bremerton.  Ferries crawled away from Colman Dock on water as flat and dull as old pewter.  Downtown, the Smith Tower pointed, like an upraised finger, toward somber skies.  On the streets below the tower, men in fraying suit coats, worn-out shoes, and battered felt fedoras wheeled wooden carts toward the street corners where they would spend the day selling apples and oranges and packages of gum for a few pennies apiece.  Around the corner, on the steep incline of Yesler Way, Seattle’s old, original Skid Road, more men stood in long lines, heads bent, regarding the wet sidewalks and talking softly among themselves as they waited for the soup kitchens to open.  Trucks form the Seattle Post Intelligencer rattled along cobblestone streets, dropping off bundles of newspapers. Newsboys in woolen caps lugged the bundles to busy intersections, to trolley stops, and to hotel entrances. Where they held the papers aloft, hawking them for two cents a copy, shouting the day’s headline: “15,000,000 to Get U. S. Relief.” A few blocks south of Yesler, in a shantytown sprawling along the edge of Elliott Bay, children awoke in damp cardboard boxes that served as beds.  Their parents crawled out of tin-and-tar-paper shacks and into the stench of sewage and rotting seaweed from the mudflats to the west.  They broke apart wooden crates and stooped over smoky campfires, feeding the flames. The looked up at the uniform gray skies and, seeing in them tokens of much colder weather ahead, wondered how they would make it through another winter.  Northwest of downtown, in the old Scandinavian neighborhood of Ballard, tugboats belching plumes of black smoke nosed long rafts of logs into the locks that would raise them to the level of Lake Washington. But the gritty shipyards and boat works clustered around the locks were largely quiet, nearly abandoned in fact.  In Salmon Bay, just to the east, dozens of fishing boats, unused for months, sat bobbing at moorage, the paint peeling form their weathered hulls.  On Phinney Ridge, looming above Ballard, wood smoke curled up from the stovepipes and chimneys of hundreds of modest homes and dissolved into the mist overhead.  It was the fourth year of the Great Depression.  One in four working Americans—ten million people—had no job and no prospects of finding one, and only a quarter of them were receiving any kind of relief.  Industrial production had fallen by half in those four years.  At least one million, and perhaps as many as two million, were homeless, living on the streets or in shantytowns like Seattle’s Hooverville.  In many American towns, it was impossible to find a bank whose doors weren’t permanently shuttered; behind those doors the savings of countless American families had disappeared forever.  Nobody could say when, or if, the hard times would ever end.  And perhaps that was the worst of it.  Whether you were a banker or a baker, a homemaker or homeless, it was with you night and day—a terrible, unrelenting uncertainty about the future, a feeling that the ground could drop out from under you for good at any moment.  In March an oddly appropriate movie had come out and quickly become a smash hit: King Kong.  Long lines formed in front of movie theaters around the country. People of all ages shelling out precious quarters and dimes to see the story of a huge, irrational beast that had invaded the civilized world, taken its inhabitants into its clutches, and left them dangling over the abyss.  pp. 7-9
4. Smoking good for you adds:  Others dangled cigarettes from their lips, and as they paged through the day’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer they could take satisfaction in the half-page add that trumpeted the latest proof of the health benefits of smoking. “21 of 23 Giants World’s Champions Smoked Camels.  It Takes Healthy Nerves to Win the World Series.”  p. 11
5. Ulbrickson and the power of a good coach:  He commanded enormous respect among his boys, but he did so almost entirely without raising his voice, almost, in fact, without speaking to them.  His few words were so carefully chosen and so effectively delivered that every one of them feel like a blade or a balm on the boy to whom they were delivered.  He strictly forbade his boys form smoking, cursing, or drinking, though he was known occasionally to do all three himself when safely out of sight or earshot of his crews.  To the boys, he seemed at times almost devoid of emotion, yet year after year he somehow managed to stir the deepest and most affirmative emotions many of the had ever know.  pp. 16-17
6. How to select a crew:  All that, Ulbrickson knew, had to start here on this dock, with the boys who were now wandering off into the waning light.  Somewhere among the—those green and untested boys—lay much of the stock from which he would have to select a crew capable of going all the way.  The trick would be to find which few of them had the potential for raw power, the nearly superhuman stamina, the indomitable willpower, and the intellectual capacity necessary to master the details of technique.  And which of them, coupled improbably with all those other qualities, had the most important one: the ability to disregard his own ambitions, to throw his ego over the gunwales, to leave it swirling in the wake of his shell, and to pull, not just for himself, not just for glory, but for the other boys in the boat.  p. 23
7. Pocock on the growing of trees (Ch. 2): These giants of the forest are something to behold.  Some have been growing for a thousand years, and each tree contains its own story of the centuries, long struggle for survival.  Looking at the annular rings of the wood, you can tell what seasons they have been through.  In some drought years they almost perished, as growth is barely perceptible.  In others, the growth was far greater.  p. 25
8. Father and son and falling stars: Most of all he missed the times he and his father would sit out at night on the cabin’s porch and stare up into the astonishing swirls of stars simmering in the black vault of the Idaho night sky, saying nothing, just being together, breathing in the cold air, waiting for a falling star to wish on.  “Keep on watching,” his father would say.  “Keep your eyes peeled.  You never know when one is going to fall.  The only time you don’t see them is when you stop watching for them.”  Joe missed that something terrible. p. 37
9. Finding things of value in unlikely places:  One autumn day the schoolteacher took Joe and the rest of his students on a natural-history field trip into the woods.  He led them to an old, rotten stump on which a large white fungus was growing—a rounded, convoluted mass of creamy folds and wrinkles.  The teacher; plucked the fungus off the stump, held it aloft, and proclaimed it a cauliflower mushroom, Sparassis radicata.  Not only was it edible, the teacher exclaimed, but is was delicious when stewed slowly.  The revelation that one could find free food just sitting on a stump in the woods landed on Joe like a thunderbolt.  That night he lay in his bunk in the schoolhouse, staring into the dark rafters above, thinking.  There seemed to be more than a schoolroom science lesson in the discovery of the fungus.  If you simply kept your eyes open, it seemed, you just might find something valuable in the most unlikely of places.  That trick was to recognize a good thing when you saw it, no matter how odd or worthless it might at first appear, no matter who else might just walk away and leave it behind .   p. 37 
10. Pocock on coaching, teaching, learning (Ch 3):  Every good rowing coach, in his own way, imparts to his men the kind of self-discipline required to achieve the ultimate from mind, heart, and body.  Which is why most ex-oarsmen will tell you they learned more fundamentally important lessons in the racing shell than in the classroom. p. 39
11. Punishment equals beauty:  Competitive rowing is an undertaking of extraordinary beauty preceded by brutal punishment.  Unlike most sports, which draw primarily on particular muscle groups, rowing makes heavy and repeated use of virtually every muscle in the body, despite the fact that a rower, as Al Ulbrickson liked to put it. “scrimmages on his posterior annex.”  And rowing makes these muscular demands not at odd intervals but in rapid sequence, over a protracted period of time, repeatedly and without respite.  On one occasion, after watching the Washington freshmen practice, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s ­ Royal Brougham marveled at the relentlessness of the sport: “Nobody ever took time out in a boat race,” he noted.  “There’s no place to stop and get a satisfying drink of water or a lungful of cool, invigorating air.  You just keep your eyes glued on the red, perspiring neck of the fellow ahead of you and row until they tell you it’s all over . . . Neighbor, it’s no game for a softy.” p. 39
12. Muscles needed to row:  When you row, the major muscles in your arms, legs, a back—particularly the quadriceps, triceps, biceps, deltoids, latissimus dorsi, abdominals, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles—do most of the grunt work, propelling the boat forward against the unrelenting resistance of water and wind.  At the same time, scores of smaller muscles in the neck, wrists, hands and even feet continually fine-tune your efforts, holding the body inconstant equipoise in order to maintain the exquisite balance necessary to keep a twenty-four-inch-wide vessel—roughly the width of a man’s waist—on and even keel.  The result of all this muscular effort, on both the larger scale and the smaller one, is that your body burns calories and consumes oxygen at a rate that is unmatched in almost any other human endeavor.  Physiologists in fact, have calculated that rowing a two-thousand-meter race—the Olympic standard—takes the same physiological toll as playing two basketball games back-to-back.  And it exacts that toll in about six minutes.  pp. 39-40
13. Oxygen consumption and bodily stress:  A well-conditioned oarsman or oarswoman competing at the highest levels must be able to take in and consume as much as eight liters of oxygen per minute: an average male is capable of taking in roughly four to five liters at most.  Pound for pound, Olympic oarsmen may take in and process as much oxygen as a thoroughbred racehorse.  This extraordinary rate of oxygen intake is of only so much value, it should be noted.  While 75-80 percent of the energy a rower produces in a two-thousand-meter race is aerobic energy fueled by oxygen, races always begin, and usually end, with hard sprints.  These sprints require levels of energy production that far exceed the body’s capacity to produce aerobic energy, regardless of oxygen intake.  Instead the body must immediately produce anaerobic energy.  This, in turn, produces large quantities of lactic acid, and that acid rapidly builds up in the tissue of the muscles.  The consequence is that the muscles often begin to scream in agony almost from the outset of a race and continue screaming until the very end.  And it’s not only the muscles that scream. The skeletal system to which all those muscles are attached also undergoes tremendous strains and stresses.  Without  proper training and conditioning—and sometimes even with them—competitive rowers are apt to experience a wide variety of ills in the knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, ribs, neck, and above all the spine.  These injuries and complaints range from blisters to sever tendonitis, bursitis, slipped vertebrae, rotator cuff dysfunction, and stress fractures, particularly fractures of the ribs.    p. 40
14. Coach Bolles warns of the difficult task ahead:  In those first weeks, Bolles’s topic varied each day, depending on factors as unpredictable as the Seattle weather or what particular infelicities of technique he had noticed in the previous practice.  Joe soon noted that two larger and intertwined themes inevitably came up in these talks.  The boys heard time and again that the course they had chosen to embark on was difficult almost beyond imagining, that both their bodies and their moral characters would be tested in the months ahead, that only a very few of them who possessed near superhuman physical endurance and mental toughness would prove good enough to wear the W on their chests, and that by Christmas break most of them would have given up, perhaps to play something less physically and intellectually demanding, like football.  But Bolles sometimes spoke of life-transforming experiences.  He held out the prospect of becoming a part of something larger than themselves, of finding in themselves something that did not yet know they possessed, of growing from boyhood to manhood.  At times he dropped his voice a bit and shifted his tone and cadence and talked of near mystical moments on the water—moments of pride, elation, and deep affection for one’s fellow oarsmen, moments they would remember, cherishes, and recount to their grandchildren when they were old men.  Moments, even, that would bring them nearer to God.  p. 41
15. Pocock grows up:  George Yeoman Pocock was all but born with an oar in his hands. He came into the world at Kingston upon Thames on March 23, 1891, within sight of some of the finest rowing water in the world.  He was descended form a long line of boat builders.  His paternal grandfather had made his living handcrafting rowboats for the professional watermen who plied the Thames in London, providing water-taxi and ferry services as their predecessors had done for centuries. . .   Pocock’s maternal grandfather also worked in the boatbuilding trade, designing and constructing a wide variety of small craft, among them the Lady Alice, the custom-built sectional boat that Sir Henry Stanley used to search for Dr. David Livingstone in Central Africa in 1874.  His uncle Bill had built the first keel-less shell, in his boatbuilding shop under London Bridge.  His father, Aaron, had taken up the trade as well. Building racing shells for Eton College, where gentlemen’s sons had been rowing competitively since the 1790’s. And it was in Eton’s ancient boathouse, just across the river from the looming eminence of Windsor Castle, that George had grown up.  At age fifteen, he signed papers formally apprenticing himself to his father, and for the next six years he worked side by side with him, laboring with hand tools to maintain and add to Eton’s prodigious fleet of racing shells.  But George didn’t just build boats; he also learned to row them, and to row them very well.  He carefully studied the rowing style of the Tames watermen—a style characterized by short but powerful strokes with a quick catch and a quick release—and adapted it to the purpose of racing in a shell.  The style he developed soon proved to be in many ways superior to the traditional longer stroke taught at Eton.  Messing about on the Thames after formal practice, the aristocratic Eton boys discovered that George and his brother, Dick, although their social inferiors, could be counted on to leve them in their wakes time and again.  It wasn’t long before the Pocock boys found themselves giving informal rowing lessons to the likes of the young Anthony Eden, to Prince Prajadipok of  Siam, and to Lord Grosvenor, son of the Duke of Westminster.  George Pocock, in turn, learned something for the highborn Eton lads.  He was inclined by nature to do whatever he attempted on the highest possible level—to master each and every tool he laid hands on in his father’s shop, to learn how to row the most efficient stroke, to build the most elegant and best-performing racing shell possible.  Now, feeling the sting of British class distinctions, pondering the difference between how he and his father spoke and how they were spoken to, he decided to put in the effort to learn to speak, not with his natural cockney accent, but with the crisp “educated” accent of the boys they served.  And, to almost everyone’s amazement, he did it.  His crisp voice soon stood out in the boathouse, not as an affectation but as a point of pride and a demonstration of his deep commitment to grace, precision, and what would turn out to be a lifelong pursuit of the ideal.  Impressed by George’s perseverance, and by his ability on the water, Aaron Pocock entered him in a professional race, the Sportsman Handicap at Putney on the Thames, when he was seventeen. He told his son he could build his own boat for the contest from scrap lumber in the Eton boathouse and gave him some advice that George never forgot: “No one will ask you how long it took to build; they will only ask who built it.”  So George took his time, carefully and meticulously handcrafting a single sculling shell from Norwegian pine and mahogany.  At Putney he slipped his boat into the water, leaned deep into his oars, and over the course of three heats defeated a field of fifty-eight oarsmen.  He came home with a small fortune: fifty pounds in prize money.  pp. 42-43
16. Building beautiful boats in bad conditions:  In 1912 things started looking up for the Pocock boys.  The Vancouver Rowing Club, hearing of their reputation in England, commissioned them to build two single sculls for one hundred dollars apiece.  The Pococks set up shop in an old, derelict shed floating on timbers fifty yards offshore in Coal Harbor and then finally resumed what would be their life’s work—crafting fine racing shells, They set to work tirelessly in their shop downstairs, stopping only at night, to sleep in an unheated room above the shop.  Conditions were not ideal.  Daylight showed through the roof, and wind and rain shuddered through wide gaps between the wallboards.  To bathe, they had to dive out their bedroom window and into the cold salt chuck of the harbor.  For drinking water, they had to row over to a public fountain in Stanly Park.  From time to time, the shed slipped its anchor and drifted aimlessly among inbound and outbound ocean liners while the Pococks slept.  At low tide the shed sat on the sloping mud bank, listing twenty-five degrees from bow to stern.  When the tide surged back in, the waterlogged timbers on which the structure was built weighed it down and held it fast to the mud.  George later described the daily routine: “The water would rise in the shop while we took refuge in the room above and tried to estimate when the next act of the drama would occur.  Eventually, with a swish and a roar, the logs would break the mud’s hold, and up would come the building, like a surfacing submarine, with the water rushing out the door at each end.  Then we could start working again, until the next change of tide.”  The brothers completed the work nonetheless, and as word of their craftsmanship spread across Canada they began to get new commissions.  By mid-192 the two of them—just twenty and twenty-one—were beginning to feel that they had their feet under them.  pp. 44-45
17. Conibear Stroke:  When George began to watch the Washington oarsmen on the water, he quickly spotted inefficiencies and deficiencies in the mechanics of their stroke that no amount of fiddling with a skeleton could fix.  At first he held his peace, not inclined by nature to offer unsolicited advice.  But when Conibear began to ask the Pocock’s for their opinion about his boys’ rowing, George gradually spoke up.  He began to teach Conibear elements of the stroke that he had learned from Thames watermen in his boyhood and taught to the boys at Eton.  Conibear listened eagerly, learned quickly, and what came to be called the “Conibear stroke” soon evolved from those discussions.  It featured a shorter layback, a quicker catch, and a shorter but more powerful pull in the water.  It left the oarsmen sitting more upright at the end of the stroke, ready to slide forward and begin the next stroke more quickly and with less fuss and bother.  It differed conspicuously from the rowing stroke long used by the eastern schools (and Eton), with its exaggerated layback and long recovery, and it began almost immediately to result in Washington’s first significant victories.  Before long, even the eastern schools were taking note of the Conibear stroke, trying to figure out how something so unorthodox could be so successful.  p. 47
18. Driving out the weak:   As the freshmen of 1933 flailed at their oars in the first few days, Tom Bolles and Al Ulbrickson strode up and down Old Nero’s walkway in gray flannel suits and fedoras.  Ulbrickson mostly just watched the boys, quietly, still sizing them up, Bolles, however, barked at them continuously—to grip the oar this way and not that, to square their blades to the water, to straighten their backs, to bend their knees, to straighten their knees, to pull harder one moment, to ease up another.  It was bewildering and backbreaking.  Old Nero was designed, in part, to drive boys who, by temperament, weren’t cut out for crew—“mollycoddles,” Ulbrickson called them—to an early realization of the fact, before they could break expensive oars and racing shells.  The boys strained and heaved and gasped for breath, but for all their efforts they moved Old Nero only slowly and erratically out of the Cut and onto the ruffled expanse of Lake Washington.  As they tried to absorb their lessons and experience, and to synchronize their efforts, they lived in constant fear of making any of the many egregious errors Bolles kept pointing out to them.  p. 49
19. Catching a crab:  One error in particular required no scolding.  They soon learned that if the blades of the oars entered the water too deeply, at the wrong angle, or out of time with the others, or if they remained in the water a fraction of a second too long at the end of a stroke, they were apt to “catch a crab”: The oar would suddenly and irretrievably become stuck in the water, immobilized as surely as if some sort of gargantuan crustacean had reached up from the depths and seized the blade, holding it fast.  Old Nero would keep going but the oar would not.  The boy holding the oar would either be smacked hard in the chest and knocked out of his seat or, if he held on to the oar too long, be catapulted unceremoniously into the water.  Ever stroke he took thus offered each boy the possibility of a wet, cold, and spectacularly public form of humiliation.  p. 49
20. What had to be learned to stroke; like playing golf:  None of the freshmen in fact, found it easy to master it. To achieve even a reasonable smooth and powerful stroke, they had to learn to execute a series of precisely timed and carefully coordinated moves.  Facing the stern of the boat, each boy began with his chest bent over his knees, his arms stretched out in front of him, and both hands gripping the handle of his one long oar.  At the beginning of the stroke, the “catch,” he dropped the blade of his oar into the water and leaned his torso back hard, toward the bow, keeping his back ramrod straight.  As his shoulders came vertical over the center of his body, he began the “leg drive” by propelling his legs forward, his seat sliding toward the bow on greased runners beneath him.  Simultaneously, he pulled the oar toward his chest against the resistance of the water, throwing all the strength of his combined arm, back, and leg muscles into the stroke.  As the oar came to his chest, and with his back inclined about fifteen degrees toward the bow, he reached the full extent of his “layback.”  Then he began his “release.”  He dropped his hands toward his waist and pulled the blade quickly and decisively form the water while at the same time rolling the wrist of the hand nearest the water in order to “feather the blade parallel to the surface of the water.  Next, to begin the “recovery,” he rotated his shoulders forward and pushed his arms sternward against the oar while pulling his knees up toward his chest, thus propelling his body forward on the sliders back into the crouched position in which he had begun.  Finally, as the boat moved forward beneath him, he again rotated the oar to bring the blade perpendicular to the surface of the next catch, dropped it cleanly back into the water at precisely the same moment as the other boys, and immediately repeated the entire procedure over and over again at whatever rate the coxswain was calling for through the small megaphone strapped on his head.  Done correctly this process levered the boat forward in the water smoothly and powerfully, but it had to be done in one continuous and unbroken cycle of uncoiling and coiling the body.  It had to be done rapidly, and it had to be done in precisely the same manner—at the same rate and with the same amount of applied power—as everyone else in the boat was doing it.  It was maddeningly difficult, as if eight men standing on a floating log that threatened to roll over whenever they moved had to hit eight golf balls at exactly the same moment, with exactly the same amount of force, directing the ball to exactly the same point on the green, and doing so over and over, every two or three seconds.  pp. 50-51 
21. Joe knew how to hurt:  As Joe made his way down to the shell house every afternoon, he saw more and more familiar boys—boys who had abandoned their boats—lounging on the grass in front of Suzzallo Library,  casting him quick glances as he passed.  The hurting was taking its toll, and that was just fine with Joe.  Hurting was nothing new to him.  p. 51
22. Georg Pocock on overcoming resistance makes you stronger (Ch. 4):  It is hard to make the boat go as fast as you want to.  The enemy, of course, is resistance of the water, as you have to displace the amount of water equal to the weight of men and equipment, but that very water is what supports you and that very enemy is your friend.  So is life: the very problems you must overcome also support you and make you stronger in overcoming them.  p. 53
23. Bears and cougars:  The woods just beyond the property were full of bears and cougars.  That troubled Thula and made her understandably nervous about her flock of small children, but Joe thrilled at night when he heard the bears splashing as they fished in the pond or the cougars screeching as they met their mates in the dark.  p. 55
24. The Depression:  A month later came a much more serious calamity.  The rural economy of the United States had already been in desperate straits for some time by that fall.  Huge surpluses of wheat, corn, milk, pork, and beef produced in the Midwest had caused the price of farm commodities to crash.  Wheat brought in only a tenth of what it had nine or ten years before.   In Iowa a bushel of corn fetched less than the price of a packet of gum.  And the price collapse began to spread to the Far West.  Things in Sequim were not yet as hard as on the Great Plains, but they were hard enough.  The Rantz farm, like countless others across the country, had so far barely managed to remain profitable.  But when they picked up the Sequim Press on October 30 and read what had happened in New York over the last several days, Harry and Thula Rantz knew the cold certainty that the world had utterly changed, that they would not long be sheltered from the storm on Wall Street, not even in Sequim, out in the far northwestern corner of the whole country.   p. 57
25. He did get up:  Joe lay in bed for a long time, listening, remembering the days he had spent lying in bed in his aunt’s attic in Pennsylvania listening to the mournful sound of trains in the distance, with fear and aloneness weighing on him, pressing down on his chest, pushing him into the mattress.  The feeling was back.  He did not want to get up, did not really care if he ever got up.  Finally, though, he did get up.  He made a fire in the woodstove, put water on to boil, fried some bacon, and made some coffee.  Very slowly, as he ate the bacon and the coffee cleared his mind, the spinning in his head began to diminish and he found himself creeping up on a new realization.  He opened his eyes and seized it, took it in, comprehended it all at once, and found that it came accompanied by a fierce determination, a sense of rising resolution.  He was sick and tired of finding himself in this positon—scared and hurt and abandoned and endlessly asking himself why.  Whatever else came his way, he wasn’t going to let anything like this happen again.  From now on, he would make his own way, find his own route to happiness, as his father had said.  He’d prove to his father and to himself that he could do it.  He wouldn’t become a hermit.  He liked other people too much for that, and friends could help push away the loneliness.  He would never again let himself depend on them, though, nor on his family, nor on anyone else, for his sense of who he was.  He would survive, and he would do it on his own.  p. 59
26. The Depression:  The crash had started on Wall Street, but it quickly brought down communities from coast to coast.  Downtown Sequim was desolate.  The State Bank of Sequim was still afloat but would fail within months.  More and more storefronts were boarded up every day.  As Joe sang, dogs sat on their haunches on the wooden sidewalks watching him idly, scratching their fleas in the rain.  Black cars bounced down the unpaved street, splashing through muddy potholes, sending up jets of brown water, but the drivers paid Joe little heed.  About the only audience he could count on was a bearded character everyone called the Mad Russian, who had been wandering Sequim’s streets barefoot and muttering to himself for a long as anyone could remember.  p. 60
27. Joe grows strong – good grades:  In all of his Joe grew continually stronger and ever more self-reliant.  Through it all he stayed in school and earned good grades.  At the end of the day, though, he remained stoically alone, returning each night to the empty, half-finished house.  p. 62
28. Charlie McDonald, cottonwood trees and a two horse team, synergy:  In the months that followed, Joe hunted for new opportunities in Sequim.  Just down Silberhorn Road, he found part-time work helping his older neighbor, Charlie McDonald.  McDonald made his living logging—harvesting enormous cottonwood trees that grew in the gravelly bottomlands along the Dungeness River.  The work was backbreaking.  The cottonwoods were so immense—their diameters so great—that it sometimes took an hour or more for Joe and Charlie to fell just one.  Pulling an eighty-four-inch two-man saw back and forth through the soft white heartwood.  In the spring, when the sap was running, it jetted up out of the stumps three or four feet into the air after the trees finally toppled over.  Then Joe and Charlie lopped off all the branches with axes, pried the bark from the logs with long iron bars, and harnessed them to Charlie’s draft horses, Fritz and Dick, so they could be dragged out of the woods and sent off to the pulp mill in Port Angeles.  Charlie had been gasses in the Great War, his vocal cords all but destroyed.  At best he could manage croaks and whispers.  As they worked together, Joe marveled at how Charlie could command the ponderous draft horses to do his bidding with a barely audible “gee” or “haw” or, as often as not, simply a whistle and nod of his head.  Charlie would give a signal, and in unison Fritz and Dick would squat down on their haunches while he chained them up.  He’d give another signal, and the two would rise and pull as if they were one horse, their movements crisply synchronized.  And they pulled with all their hearts.  When horses pulled like that, Charlie told Joe, they could pull far more than twice what each could pull alone.  They’d pull, he said, till the log moved, the harness broke, or their hearts gave out.  pp. 62-63
29. Gymnastics – his link to Ulbrickson:  One spring day in 1932, as Joe was practicing “giants” on the high bar in the gym, he noticed a tall man in a dark gray suit and a fedora, standing in the doorway and watching him intently.  The man disappeared, but a few minutes later Fred walked into the gym and called Joe over to the door.  “A fellow just came into my classroom and asked who you were,” Fred said. “Said he was from the university.  He gave me this.  Said you should look him up when you get to the U.  That he might be able to use a fellow like you.”  Fred handed Joe a card, and Joe glanced down at it: Alvin M Ulbrickson . . . p. 67
30. Remembering the smell:   She [Joyce] rushed through the woods looking for Joe.  When she found him, he always hugged her tight, smelling, as she would remember seventy years later on her deathbed, of wet wood and sweat and the sweet wildness of the outdoors.  p. 68
31. Georg Pocock on endurance- no time outs (Ch.5):  Rowing is perhaps the toughest of sports.  Once the race starts, there are no time-outs, no substitutions.  It calls upon the limits of human endurance.  The coach must therefore impart the secrets of the special kind of endurance that come from mind, heart, and body.   p. 71
32. Rowing in the rain:  Rain pelted their bare heads and shoulders.  Their oars slapped against wind-tossed waves, sending up plumes of icy spray that blew back into their faces and stung their eyes.  Their hands grew so numb that they could never be sure they had a proper hold on their oars. They could not feel their ears or noses.  The icy water of the lake beneath them seemed to suck warmth and energy out of them more quickly than they could produce it.  Their aching muscles cramped up the moment they stopped moving them.  And they dropped like flies.  p. 71
33. Dust Bowl:  A pall of another, quite literal, sort continued to hang over the larger world as well that month.  On November 11 farmers in the Dakotas awoke after a windy night to find something they had never seen before—daytime skies turned black by topsoil scoured from their fields and carried aloft by the wind.  The next day the skies over Chicago grew dark and the dust cloud traveled eastward, and a few days later people in upstate New York looked up, astonished into skies the color of rust.  Nobody knew it yet, but the dust that month, that first “black blizzard,” was merely a harbinger of what would come to be call the Dust Bowl, the second great act in the long tragedy of the 1930s and early 1940s.  The winds of November 1933 would soon be followed by others, even stronger, that would blow away much of the topsoil of the American plains and send hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming westward across the continent in search of jobs that did not exist—adrift, rootless, homeless, dispossessed in their own land, their confidence as well and their livelihoods carried away on the wind.  p. 76
34. In the 1st boat – tears of joy:  Even now that they had stopped rowing, their breathing was synchronize, and for a brief, fragile moment it seemed to Joe as if all of them were part of a single thing . . .  Joe gulped huge drafts of the frigid air and sat staring at the scene, watching it turn into a soft blur of colors as, for the first time since his family had left him, tears filled his eyes.  He turned his face to the water, fiddling with his oar lock so the others would not see.  He didn’t know where the tears had come from, what they were all about.  But something inside him had shifted, if only for a few moments.  pp. 78-79
35. Rains of 33:  On the second day of December 1933, it began to rain in Seattle as it had never rained before and has never rained since.  Over the next thirty days, there was only one day when the skies were not leaden with clouds, only four when it did not rain.  By the end of the month, fourteen and a quarter inches of rain had fallen at the University of Washington.  Fifteen and a third inches had fallen downtown, still the all-time record for any month of the year.  Some days it drizzled; some days it poured.  Either way, it just kept coming.  Rivers all across western Washington—the Chehalis, the Snoqualmie, the Duwamish, the Skokomish, the Stillaguamish, the Snohomish—overflowed their banks, sweeping away farmhouses, washing millions of tons of topsoil into Puget Sound, flooding the commercial districts of riverside communities form the Canadian border all the way south to the Columbia.  North of Seattle the swollen Skagit River sliced through earthen dikes near its mouth and sent tidal salt water spilling across twenty thousand acres of the richest farmland in the state.  In many of Seattle’s nicest hillside neighborhoods—places like Alki and Madrona and Magnolia—homes slid from eroding bluffs and tumbled into Lake Washington or Puget Sound.  Roadways cracked and followed the homes downhill.  Downtown, storm water overwhelmed the sewers, bubbled up through manholes, and flooded the streets and businesses of the low-lying International District.  In the miserable shantytown spread out along the shore of Elliott Bay, unrelenting rain dissolved newspaper that had been wadded into chinks in flimsy walls, soaked its way through the weather-beaten fabric of old tents, and dripped through rusty corrugated steel roofs, soaking old mattresses lying on muddy floors and chilling to the bone those who tried to sleep on them.  p. 79
36. Georg Pocock on his goal to be a first-class artisan (Ch. 6):  My ambition has always been to be the greatest shell builder in the world; and without false modesty, I believe I have attained that goal.  If I were to sell the Boeing stock, I fear I would lose my incentive and become a wealthy man, but a second-rate artisan.  I prefer to remain a first-class artisan.  p. 83
37. The hard fight, rowing against rain and cold and each other:  It rained, and they rowed.  They rowed through cutting wind, bitter sleet, and occasional snow, well into the dark of the night every evening.  They rowed with cold rainwater running down their backs, pooling in the bottom of the boat, and sloshing back and forth under their sliding seats.  A local sportswriter who watched them work out that month observed that “it rained and rained and rained.  Then it rained and rained and rained.”  Another commented that they “could have turned their shells upside down and rowed without making much difference in their progress.  It was nearly as wet above the surface of the lake as it was below.”  Through it all, Bolles followed them doggedly back and forth across Lake Washington and down the Montlake Cut into Lake Union, where they rowed past the wet, black hulls and dripping bowsprits of old lumber schooners.  Riding through the slop and the chop in the open cockpit of his brass-trimmed, mahogany-planked motor launch, the Alumnus, wearing a bright yellow rain slicker, he bellowed commands at them through his megaphone until his voice grew hoarse and his throat sore.  Once again boys who had endured the bitter cold workouts in October and November now placed their oars in rack at the end of the day, climbed wearily back up the hill, and refused to come back for more.  Four boat loads soon became three, and by the end of the month Bolles sometimes had a hard time filling the third boat.  All the boys in Joe’s boat stuck it out, but the easy camaraderie that had briefly felt the first time they went out together on Lake Union in November quickly evaporated.  Anxiety, self-doubt, and bickering replace that night’s buoyant optimism as Bolles scrutinized each of them anew, trying to figure out who to keep in the boat and who to demote.  p. 84
38. On coaches (Ulbrickson and Ebright):  As difficult as he could sometimes be, though, Ky Ebright, like Al Ulbrickson, was a remarkable coach—destined, like Ulbrickson, for rowing’s hall of fame—and he cared deeply for the young men in his charge.  The night California won Olympic gold in Amsterdam in 1928, an emotional Ebright came to Blessng [a coxswain he had scolded], put his arm around the younger man, and said with a cracking voice, “You know, Don,  I cussed you a lot of times and made you mad a lot of times, but you’ve been the greatest coxswain, the grates student, I’ve ever had, and I want you to know how much I appreciate that.”  “It made me cry,” Blessing later said.  “I mean, he was God to me.”  It was a feeling shared by most of the boys Ebright coached, among them Robert McNamara, later the U. S., secretary of defense, and the movie star Gregory Peck, who in 1997 donated twenty-five thousand dollars to the Cal crew in Ebright’s memory.  p. 86
39. Rowing the boat:  By and large, every rower in an eight-oared shell does the same thing—pull an oar through the water as smoothly as possible, as hard and as frequently as requested by the coxswain.  But there are subtle differences in what is expected of individual rowers depending on  which seat they occupy.  Because the rest of the boat necessarily goes where the bow goes, any deflection or irregularity in the stroke of the oarsman in the bow seat has the greatest potential to disrupt the course, speed, and stability of the boat.  So while the bow oarsman must be strong, like all the others, it’s most important that he or she be technically proficient: capable of pulling a perfect oar, stroke after stroke, without  fail.  The same is true to a lesser extent of the rowers in the number two and three seats.  The four, five, and six seats are often called “the engine room” of the crew, and the rowers who occupy these seats are typically the biggest and strongest in the boat.  While technique is still important in those seats, the speed of the boat ultimately depends on the raw power of these rowers and how efficiently they can transmit it through their oars and into the water.  The rower in the number seven seat is something of a hybrid,  He or she must be nearly as strong as the rowers in the engine room but must also be particularly alert, constantly aware of and in tune with what is happening in the rest of the boat.  He or she must precisely match both the timing and the degree of power set by the rower in the number eight seat, the “stroke oar,” and must transmit that information efficiently back into the boat’s engine room.  The stroke sits directly in front of and face to face with the coxswain, who faces the bow and steers the shell.  Theoretically the stroke oar always rows at the rate and with the degree of power called for by the coxswain, but in the end it is the stroke who ultimately controls these things.  Everyone else in the boat rows at the rate and power at which the stroke rows.  When working well, the entire boat operates like a well-lubricated machine, with every rower serving as a vital link in a chain that powers that machine forward, somewhat like a bicycle chain.  pp. 90-91
40. Strategy:  Bolles looked down at his stopwatch, saw the freshmen’s two-mile time, and looked again.  He had known they were getting sharp, but now he knew in no uncertain terms that he had the makings of something exceptional in his boat.  What he didn’t know was whether California had something even more exceptional, as Ky Ebright seemed to be hinting in the press.  That would be revealed a week hence, on April 13.  In the meantime, he resolved to keep the time on his stopwatch to himself.  p. 93
41. Two key factors – strength and speed:  There are certain laws of physics by which all crew coaches live and die. The speed of the racing shell is determined primarily by two factors: the power produced by the combined strokes of the oars, and the stroke rate, the number of strokes the crew takes each minute.  So if two boats carrying the same weight have the exact same stroke rate, the one producing more power per stroke will pull ahead.  If those two boats have the exact same power per stroke but one has a higher stroke rate, the one with the higher rate will pull ahead.  A boat with both a very high stroke rate and very powerful strokes will beat a boat that can’t match it on both counts.  But, of course, oarsmen are human and no crew can maintain both powerful strokes and a very high rate indefinitely.  And, critically, the higher the stroke rate, the harder it is to keep all the many individual movements of the crew synchronized.  So every race is a balancing act, a series of delicate and deliberate adjustments of power on one hand and stroke rate on the other.  It may be that nobody ever achieves absolutely optimal performance, but what Bolles had seen that day—his crew rowing so comfortably at a high but sustainable rate and with such great power—gave him every reason to think that someday these freshmen just might pull it off.  pp. 93-94
42. The boys:  And it wasn’t just their physical prowess.  He liked the character of these particular freshmen.  The boys who had made it this far were rugged and optimistic in a way that seemed emblematic of their western roots.  They were the genuine article, mostly the products of lumber towns, dairy farms, mining camps, fishing boats, and shipyards.  They looked, they walked, and they talked as if they had spent most of their lives out of doors.  Despite the hard times and their pinched circumstances, they smiled easily and openly.  They extended calloused hands eagerly to strangers.  They looked you in the eye, not as a challenge, but as an invitation.  They joshed you at the drop of a hat.  They looked at impediments and saw opportunities.  All that, Bolles knew, added up to a lot of potential in a crew, particularly if that crew got a chance to row in the East. 
43. Misdirection a strategic manipulation: Tom Bolles and Al Ulbrickson had read that account, and now they watched California’s workout from shore with apparent concern.  They had taken their own boys out the same day, with the press and Ebright looking on, only to have the freshmen turn back after a mile, their rowing conspicuously lethargic and their shell half full of water from the heavy chop.  Bolles had returned gloomily to the dock and gone atypically out of his way to approach the sportswriters assembled at the shell house, giving them a terse but bleak forecast for the freshmen: “It looks as if we’ll be rowing from behind.”  Misdirection was part of the game.  It was easy enough to rig a shell so that oars sat a little too close to the water and easy enough to pull a leisurely oar but make it look hard.  When Bolles’s quote appeared the newspaper the next day, Joe cut it out, pasted it in his scrapbook, and wrote next to it, “Coach said Cal had their neck out a foot.  He is giving out pessimistic reports so they will stick them out farther.  Makes them easier to cut off.”  p. 95
44. The race – Washington’s freshmen’s victory:  California exploded off the line, lashing the water at a furious thirty-eight strokes per minute.  The silver prow of the shell immediately surged a quarter length ahead of Washington’s.  Having seized the lead, Cal dropped its rate down a bit, to a more sustainable thirty-two, and Grover Clark began blowing his whistle in time with the stroke count.  Washington settled in at thirty but held its position at a quarter length back.  The two boats churned up the lake for almost a quarter of a mile, locked together in that configuration—Washington’s white blades glinting in the sunlight, Cal’s flashing shards of blue,  Sitting in the number three seat, Joe Rantz was parallel with roughly the six or seven seat in the California boat; in the seven seat, Roger Moris was parallel with nothing but open water.  All the boys had their minds fully in the boat now.  Facing the stern, the only thing any of them could see was the heaving back of the man in front of him.  None had any idea how far ahead Cal’s initial surge might have carried them. George Morry, facing forward knew exactly.   He could see Grover Clark’s backside in front of him, but he continued to hold Washington steady at thirty strokes per minute.  As they passed the        quarter-mile mark, the two boats slowly came even.  The Washington began to overtake California, methodically, seat by seat, the boys still rowing at a remarkably low thirty.  By the one-mile mark Washington had open water on Cal.  As the California boat fell into the field of view of the Washington boys, their confidence surged.  The pain that had been building in their arms and legs and chests did not abate, but it fled to the back of their minds, chased there by a sense, almost, of invulnerability.  In the Cal boat, Grover Clark pulled the whistle from his mouth and screamed out, “Gimme ten big ones!” – the standard call in rowing for ten mammoth strokes, strokes as hard and powerful as each oarsman can muster.  The California oars bent like bows with the strain, and for those ten strokes the boys form Cal held their position.  But Washington remained out in front their lead—almost two lengths now—essentially undiminished.  At the mile-and-a-half mark, Clark called for another big ten, but by now Cal’s boys had given everything they had to give, and Washington’s boys hadn’t.  As they entered the last half mile and came into the lee of the hills at the north end of the lake, the headwind died down.  Cheers began to rise from the semicircle of boats ahead, form the beaches, form the observation train working its way along the shore, and—loudest of all—from the ferryboat chock-full of students.  The California boat labored to catch up, Grover Clark’s whistle now shrieking like an out-of-control steam locomotive.  Approaching the line and already ahead by four lengths, George Morry finally called for a higher stroke rate.  The Washington boys stepped it up to thirty-two and then all the way to thirty-six, just because they knew they could.  Washington sliced across the finish line four and a half lengths ahead of California, and almost twenty seconds ahead of the freshman course record, despite the headwind.  Shrill horns and cheers resounded all along the shores of Lake Washington.  The Washington freshmen paddled over to the California boat and collected the traditional trophy of victorious crews everywhere—the shirts off the backs of their vanquished rivals.  The shook hands with the crestfallen and shirtless Cal boys and then, exultant, paddled off the course to stow their shell.  Tom Bolles cheerily loaded them on to the Alumnus, then transported them to the student ferry.  pp. 98-99
45. Georg Pocock on rowing with the head (Ch. 7):  Rowing a race is an art, not a frantic scramble.  It must be rowed with head power as well as hand power.  From the first stroke all thoughts of the other crew must be blocked out.  Your thoughts must be directed to you and your own boat, always positive, never negative.  p. 105
46. How to defeat and adversary – the secret:  To defeat an adversary who was your equal, maybe even you superior, it wasn’t necessarily enough just to give your all from start to finish.  You had to master your opponent mentally.  When the critical moment in a close race was upon you, you had to know something he did not—that down in your core you still had something in reserve, something you had not yet shown, something that once revealed would make him doubt himself, make him falter just when it counted the most.  Like so much in life, crew was partly about confidence, partly about knowing your own heart.  p. 106
47. East – v – West:  The 1934 regatta was once again shaping up to be a clash of eastern privilege and prestige on the one hand and western sincerity and brawn on the other.  In financial terms, it was pretty starkly going to be a clash of old money versus no money at all.  p. 114
48. VICTORY: At the crack of the starting pistol, Syracuse immediately jumped in front, rowing at thirty-four, followed closely by Washington, rowing at thirty-one.  Everyone else—Columbia, Rutgers, Pennsylvania, and Cornell—began to fall behind almost immediately.  At a quarter of a mile down the river, it looked as if the Orange of Syracuse would, as predicted, settle into the lead.  But by the half-mile mark, Washington had crept up and nosed ahead of them without raising its stroke rate.  As the leaders swept under the railroad bridge at a mile, officials on the bridge set off a salvo of three bombs, signifying that the boat in lane three, Washington, was ahead with another mile still to go.. Slowly the bow of the Syracuse boat came into Joe’s field of view, just beginning to fall away behind him.  He ignored it, focused instead on the oar in his hands, pulling hard and pulling smoothly, rowing comfortably, almost without pain,  At the mile-and-a-half mark, some in the middle of the Syracuse boat caught a crab.  The Orange faltered for a moment, then immediately recovered their rhythm.  But it no longer mattered.  Washington was two and a half lengths ahead.  Cornell, in third, had all but disappeared, eight lengths farther back, George Morry whipped his head around, took a quick look, and stated at the length of their lead.  Nevertheless, as he had against California in April on Lake Washington, he called up the rate in the last few hundred feet, just for the show of it.  Another salvo of three bombs exploded as Tom Bolles’s boys passed the finish line an astonishing five lengths ahead of Syracuse.  p. 116
49. Global warming:  That summer [1934] was exceptionally hot across much of the United States, though the summer of 1936 would cruelly eclipse even this one.  In the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Iowa, summertime temperatures began early.  By May 9, it was 109 in Spencer, Iowa, and 108 in Pipestone, Minnesota.  And as the heat rose, the rain stopped falling.  Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had only a tenth of an inch of rain that month, right in the middle of the corn-growing season.  From the upper plains, the heat and aridity radiated across the country.  By June more than half the United States was in the grip of severe heat and extreme drought conditions.  In Saint Louis temperatures would rise above 100 for eight straight days that summer.  At Midway Airport in Chicago, it would top 100 for six straight days and hit an all-time high of 109 on July 23.  In Topeka, Kansas, the mercury would pass the 100 mark forty-seven times that summer.  July would be the hottest month ever recorded in Ohio.  In the Far West it was even worse.   In Orofino, Idaho, it would hit 118 on July 28.  The ten states with the highest average temperatures in the country that summer were all in the West.  And the worst of the heat wasn’t in the Southwest, were people expected it and crops and lifestyles were adapted to it.  Instead the heat scorched enormous swaths of the Intermountain West and even portions of the normally green Northwest.  Nothing could grow under such conditions, and without corn, wheat, and hay livestock could not survive.  Alarmed, the secretary of agriculture, Henry Wallace, dispatched an expedition to the Gobi Desert to see if there were any species of grass there that might be able to survive in the deserts that the American West and Midwest were quickly becoming.  But the heat and the drought were in some ways the least of it.  On May 9 a colossal dust storm had swung out of eastern Montana, rolled across the Dakotas and Minnesota, dumped 12 million tons of dirt on Chicago, and then moved onto tower over Boston and New York.  As they had in November 1933, people stood in Central Park and looked skyward, aghast at the blackened sky.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 million tons of American topsoil had become airborne in that single storm.  The New Your Times proclaimed it “the greatest dust storm in United States history.”  But in fact the greater storms, and the greater suffering, were still months ahead.  pp. 119-120
50. Hard times:  Yet for millions of Americans—for most Americans—the hard times still seemed as hard as ever.  The opposition pounded the new president, zeroing in on his methods rather than his results.  In a national radio address on July 2, Henry Fletcher, chairman of the Republican Party, blasted the president’s New Deal, calling in “an undemocratic departure from all that is distinctively American.”  He went on, gloomily and ominously predicting dire consequences from what seemed a radical experiment in socialist-style big-government spending: “The average American is thinking, ‘I am perhaps better off than last year but I ask myself, will I be better off when the tax bill comes in, and how about my children and my children’s children?’”  p.122
51. Roosevelt’s speech at the Grand Coulee Dam:  Then Roosevelt began to speak, leaning forward on his podium, clutching it.  In measured tones, but with rising emotion, he began laying out a vision of the benefits that the new Grand Coulee Dam would bring to this arid land in exchange for the 175 million public dollars it would cost: 1.2 million acres of desert land reclaimed for farming, abundant irrigation water for millions more acres of existing farmland, vast amounts of cheap electrical power that could be exported all across the West, and thousands of new jobs building the hydroelectric and irrigation infrastructure that the dam would necessitate.  As he spoke, the crowd interrupted him again and again with waves of applause and choruses of hearty cheers.  Speaking of the water of the Columbia running unchecked to the sea, its energy unharnessed he underscored the commonality of the great task at hand: “It is not a problem of the State of Washington; it is not a problem of the State of Idaho; it is a problem that touches all the states in the union.”  He paused, removed a handkerchief from his pocket, and dabbed it against his glistening brow.  “We are going to see, I believe, with our own eyes, electricity and power made so cheap that they will become a standard article of use . . . for every home within the reach of an electrical transmission line.”  Then he moved toward his conclusion, addressing the men and women standing before him directly:  You have great opportunities and you are doing nobly in grasping them. . . .  So I leave here today with the feeling that this work is well undertaken; that we are going ahead with a useful project; and that we are going to see it through for the benefit of our country?  When he finished, the crowd again roared their approval.  pp. 122-123
52. Pocock on harmony between shell and crew (Ch. 8): A good shell has to have life and resilience to get in harmony with the swing of the crew.  p. 125
53. Making shingles and the connection to making a shell and making a crew and art – the value that can come from what others have left behind:  After his cross-country trip, Joe spent the rest of the summer of 1934 in the still half-finished house on Silberhorn Road in Sequim, desperately trying to conjure up enough money to get himself through another school year.  He cut more hay, dug more ditches, dynamited more stumps, and spread more hot, black asphalt on Highway 101.  Mostly, though, he worked in the woods with Charlie McDonald.  Charlie had decided he needed a new roof on his farmhouse. One afternoon he harnessed his draft horses to a buckboard and took Joe upriver, hunting for cedar.  The upper reaches of his property had been logged for the first time just a dozen years before.  The loggers had hand their pick of the virgin timber still growing along that section of the Dungeness—towering Douglas firs and massive western red cedars.  Some of the cedars had been more than two thousand years old, and their stumps—seven or eight feet in diameter and just as tall—rose like ancient monuments from the dense tangle of salal, huckleberry, young cottonwoods, and purple plums of fireweed.  In the face of the extraordinary bounty of the massive cedars, and valuing them primarily for making roofing shakes and shingles, the men who had cut them down had taken only the prime middle section of each, leaving behind long sections for the tops, where the branches were, and the bottoms, where the trunks began to flare out and the grain of the wood no longer ran perfectly straight and true.  Much of what they had left could still be used but only if one knew how to read the wood, to decipher its inner structure.  Charlie led Joe among the stumps and downed trees, teaching him how to understand what lay beneath the bark of the fallen logs.  He rolled them over with a peavey and pounded them with the flat face of a splitting maul, testing for the ringing tone that indicated soundness.  He ran his hands over them, feeling for hidden knots and irregularities.  He crouched down at the cut ends and peered at the annual growth rings trying to get the nuanced read on how tight and regular the grain within was likely to be.  Joe was fascinated, intrigued by the idea that he could learn to see what others not see in the wood, thrilled as always at the notion that something valuable could be found in what others had passed over and left behind.  When Charlie found a log he liked, and explained to Joe why he liked it, the two of them used a crosscut saw to buck the wood into twenty-four inch bolts—sections the length of a roofing shake—and toted them back to the buckboard.  Later Charlie taught Joe how to decipher the subtle clues of shape, texture, and color that would enable him to cleave the wood into well-formed shakes, to see hidden points of weakness or resilience.  He taught the younger man how to split a log neatly into quarters with a maul and iron wedges; how to use a heavy wooden mallet to pound a froe—the shake maker’s principal tool: a long, straight blade with an equally long perpendicular handle—into the wood across rather than with the grain; how to work the froe evenly down the length of the wood; how to listen to the wood as it began to “talk” back to him, the fibers crackling and snapping softly as they pulled away from one another, telling him that they were prepared to split along the plane he intended; how to twist the froe in the wood decisively at just the right moment to make the shake pop free, clean and elegant, smooth faced and gently tapered from one end to the other, ready to put on a roof.  Within a few days, Joe had mastered the froe and the mallet and could size up a log and split shakes from it nearly as quickly and decisively as Charlie could.  A year of rowing had given him prodigious strength in his arms and shoulders, and he worked his way through the pile of cedar bolts like a machine.  A small mountain of shakes soon surrounded him in the McDonalds’ barnyard.  Proud of his new skill, he found that shaping cedar resonated with him in an elusive but elemental way—it satisfied him down in his core, and gave him peace.  Partly it was the old pleasure that he always derived from mastering new tools and solving practical problems—working out the angles and plane at which the cedar would or wouldn’t cleave cleanly.  And partly it was the deeply sensuous nature of the work.  He liked the way that the wood murmured to him before it parted, almost as if it was alive, and when it finally gave way under his hands he liked the way it invariable revealed itself in lovely and unpredictable patterns of color—streaks of orange and burgundy and cream.  At the same moment, as the wood opened up, it always perfumed the air.  The spicy-sweet aroma that rose form freshly split cedar was the same scent that often filled the shell house in Seattle when Pocock was at work up in his loft.  There seemed to Joe to some kind of connection between what he was doing here among the pile of freshly split shakes, what Pocock was doing in his shop, and what he was trying to do himself in the racing shells Pocock built—something about the deliberate application of strength, and careful coordination of mind and muscle, the sudden unfolding of mystery and beauty. pp. 125-127
54. Training rules:  “You will eat no fried meats,” he began abruptly.  “You will eat no pastries, but you will eat plenty of vegetables.  You will eat good, substantial, wholesome food—the kind of food you mother makes.  You will go to bed at ten o’clock and arise punctually at seven o’clock.  You will not smoke or drink or chew.  And you will follow this regiment all year round, for a long as you row for me.  A man cannot abuse his body for six months and then expect to row the other six months.  He must be a total abstainer all year.  You will not use profane language in the shell house, nor anywhere within my hearing.  You will keep at your studies and maintain a high grade point average.  You will not disappoint your parents, nor you crewmates. Now let’s row.”  p. 130
55. Pocock well read:  But Pocock was learned far beyond his formal education, as was immediately obvious to everyone who met him.  He was well read in a wide variety of subjects—religion, literature, history, and philosophy.  He could quote Browning or Tennyson or Shakespeare at the drop of a hat, and the quote was always apt and telling, never pretentious or affected.  The net effect was that for all his quiet humility the man’s wide-ranging knowledge and quiet eloquence commanded absolute respect, and never more than when he was at work in his shop, plying his craft.  No one interrupted Pocock at work.  Ever.  p. 135
56. George Pocock at work – maker and artist:  In fact, George Pocock was already building the best, and doing so by a wide margin.  He didn’t just build racing shells, he sculpted them.  Looked at one way, a racing shell is a machine with a narrowly defined purpose:  to enable a number of large men or women, and one small one, to propel themselves over an expanse of water as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Looked at another way, it is a work of art, an expression of the human spirit, with its unbounded hunger for the ideal, for beauty, for purity, for grace.  A large part of Pocock’s genius as a boat builder was that he managed to excel both as a maker of machines and as an artist.  Growing up and learning his trade from his father at Eton, he had used simple hand tools—saws, hammers chisels, wood planes, and sanding blocks.  For the most part, he continued to use those same tools even as more modern, laborsaving power tools came to market in the 1930’s.  Partly, this was because he believed that the hand tools gave him more precise control over the fine details of the work.  Partly, it was because he could not abide the noise that power tools made.  Craftsmanship required thought, and thought required a quiet environment.  Mostly though, it was because he wanted more intimacy with the wood—he wanted to feel the life in the wood with his hands, and in turn to impart some of himself, his own life, his pride and his caring, into the shell.  Up until 1927, he made his shells precisely as his father had taught him to make them in England.  Working on a perfectly straight I beam more than sixty feet long, he constructed a delicate framework of spruce and northern ash.  Then he carefully joined and nailed strips of Spanish cedar to the ribs of the frame to form the hull.  This required thousands of brass nails and screws the heads of which had to be patiently and laboriously filed down by hand before he could apply coats of marine varnish to the exterior.  The fitting and nailing on of the planks was labor intensive and nerve-racking.  At any moment the slip of a chisel or a careless blow form a hammer could ruin days’ worth of work.  In 1927 he made an improvement that revolutionized the building of racing shells in America.  For a number of years, Ed Leader, who succeeded Hiram Conibear as the Washington crew coach, had suggested that Pocock try making a shell out of the native western red cedar that grew so abundantly, and so large, in Washington and British Columbia.  After all, Spanish cedar was expensive, having to be imported from its native South America.  (Spanish cedar, Cedrela odorata, is in fact neither Spanish nor cedar, being a member of the mahogany family.)  It was also notoriously brittle, necessitating the almost continual repair of the school’s fleet of shells.  Pocock was attracted to the idea of trying the native cedar.  He had, for years, taken notice of the lightness and the durability of the old cedar Indian canoes that still occasionally plied the waters of the Puget Sound.  But he had been dissuaded from experimenting with it by head coach Rusty Callow.  Callow had been a logger in his younger years, and like most lumbermen he believed that cedar was only good for making shakes and shingles.  But when Pocock finally followed his own heart and began to experiment with the wood in 1927, he was astonished by the possibilities it opened up.  Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) is a kind of wonder wood.  Its low density makes it easy to shape, whether with a chisel, a plane, or a handsaw.  Its open cell structure makes it light and buoyant, and in rowing lightness means speed.  Its tight, even grain makes it strong but flexible, easy to bend yet disinclined to twist, warp, or cup.  It is free of pitch or sap, but its fibers contain chemicals called thujaplicins that act as natural preservatives, making it highly resistant to rot while at the same time lending it its lovely scent.  It is beautiful to look at, it takes a finish well, and it can be polished to a high degree of luster, essential for providing the smooth, friction-free racing bottom a good shell requires.  Pocock quickly became a convert.  Soon he was scouring the Northwest for the highest quality cedar he could find, making long journeys to smoky sawmills out on the Olympic Peninsula and far to the north in the still-virgin forests of British Columbia.  He found just what he wanted in the misty woods surrounding Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island.  From the cedar stock he found there—long, tight-grained, straight sections cut from massive, ancient trees—he could mill elegant planks of wood twenty inches or more wide and sixty feet long.  And from the planks he could shave identical pairs of much thinner planks, delicate sheets of cedar just five-thirty-seconds of an inch thick, each a mirror image of the other, with the same pattern of grain.  By placing these book-matched pairs on either side of the keel, he could ensure perfect symmetry in the boat’s appearance and performance.   These flexible sheets of cedar also allowed Pocock to do away with the endless nailing of planks to the boat’s ribs.  Instead he could simply strap the sheets of wood over the frame of the boat, forcing them to conform to its shape, then cover the whole assembly with heavy blankets and divert steam from the shell house’s heating system under the blankets.  The steam caused the cedar to relax and bend to fit itself to the shape of the frame.  When he turned off the steam and removed the blankets three days later, the cedar sheets held their new shape perfectly.  All he had to do was dry them and glue them to the frame.  It was the same technique that the Coast Salish peoples of the Northwest had used for centuries to fashion bentwood boxes out of single planks of cedar.  The sleek shells that resulted from the process were not only more beautiful than the Spanish cedar shells but also demonstrable faster.  Harvard ordered, as an experiment, one of the first to come out of Pocock’s shop and promptly reported back that the boat had taken several full seconds off its crew’s best times.  With the cedar skin attached to the shell, Pocock installed the runners and the seats, the riggers, the rudder assembly, and the trim.  He took pride in using a variety of Northwest woods in his products—sugar pine for keels, ash for the frames, Sitka spruce for the gunnels and the hand-carved seats, Alaska yellow cedar for the wash boards.  The last of these he favored mostly because as it aged its color evolved from that of old ivory to a golden honey hue that harmonized with the burnished red of the cedar hulls.  He stretched sheer silk fabric over the stern and bow sections and painted the silk with varnish.  As the varnish dried and hardened on the fabric, it created a fragile and lovely translucent yellow decking fore and aft.  Finally, he worked on the finish, hand-rubbing the cedar hull with powdered pumice and rotten stone for hours, applying thin coats of marine varnish, then rubbing the finish again and again until it gleamed like still water.  All told, it took four gallons of varnish to get the finish he was looking for.  Only when it fairly shimmered, when it seemed in its sleekness to be alive with the potential for speed, did Pocock pronounce the boat ready for use.  There was one more thing about cedar—a sort of secret that Pocock had discovered accidentally after his first shells made of the wood had been in the water for a while.  People had taken to calling them “banana boats,” because once they were exposed to water both their bows and sterns tended to curve ever so slightly upward.  Pocock pondered this effect and its consequences and gradually came to a startling realization.  Although cedar does not expand or swell across the grain of the wood when wet, and thus tends not to warp, it does expand lightly along the grain.  This can amount to as much as an inch of swelling in the length of a sixty-foot shell.  Because the cedar was dry when attached to the frame but then became wet after being used regularly, the wood wanted to expand slightly in length.  However, the interior frame of the boat, being made of ash that remained perpetually dry and rigid, would not allow it to expand.  The cedar skin thus became compressed, forcing the ends of the boat up slightly and lending it what boat builders call “camber.”  The result was that the boat as a whole was under subtle but continual tension caused by the unreleased compression in the skin, something like a drawn bow waiting to be release.  This gave it a kind of liveliness, and tendency to spring forward on the catch of the oars in a way that no other design or material could duplicate.  To Pocock, this unflagging resilience—this readiness to bounce back, to keep coming, to persist in the face of resistance—was the magic in cedar, the unseen force that imparted life to the shell.  And as far as he was concerned, a shell that did not have life in it was a shell that was unworthy of the young men who gave their hearts to the effort of moving it through the water.  pp. 136-139
57. Pocock on harmony between shell and crew (Ch. 8): One of the first admonitions of a good rowing coach, after the fundamentals are over, is “pull your own weight,” and the young oarsman does just that when he finds out that the boat goes better when he does.  There is certainly a social implication here.  P. 149
58. Ulbrickson like Ahab:  He[Ulbrickson] was, in his quiet way, rapidly becoming obsessed, almost Ahab-like, in his pursuit of the ultimate varsity crew, one that could beat Ky Ebright in California in April and at Poughkeepsie in June and be in a position to go to Berlin the following year.  p. 156
59. Stub McMillin can’t believe he was beaten:  There was another curly-headed boy, a six-foot-five, slightly goofy-looking beanpole with a smile that could knock your socks off, named Jim McMillin.  His crew mates called him Stub.  He had not rowed particularly well in the second freshman boat the previous year.  Now suddenly he seemed to be finding his niche in Moch’s boat.  He was big enough to provide the leverage and power that a great crew needs in the middle of the boat, and he never seemed to believe he was beaten, even if he was.  He rowed as hard in a losing cause as in a winning one.  He just plain had a lot of pepper, and he’d made it clear that he thought he belonged in the first boat.  p. 157
60. Danger of a boat full of individuals:  Ulbrickson knew what the real problem was.  He littered his logbook with the myriad technical faults he was observing:  Rantz and Heartman still weren’t breaking their arms at the right point in the stroke; Green and Hartman were catching the water too early, Rantz and Lund were catching it too late; and so on.  But the real problem wasn’t that –wasn’t an accumulation of small faults.   Back in February he had commented to the Seattle Times’ George Varnell that “there were more good individual men on this year’s squad than on any I have coached.”  The fundamental problem lay in the fact that he had felt compelled to throw that word “individual” into the sentence.  There were too many days when they rowed not as crews but as boatfuls of individuals.  The more he scolded them for personal technical issues, even as he preached teamsmanship, the more the boys seemed to sink into their own separate and sometime defiant little worlds.  p. 158
61. Joe’s beauty – as he slept:  As Joe slept, Joyce sat in the bow, studying the face of the young man to whom she had committed herself.  He had grown even more handsome since high school, and at moments like this, when he was fully at ease, his face and his sculptured body were so full of composure and grace that they reminded Joyce of the ancient marble statues of Greek athletes that she had recently studied in her art history class.  Looking at him like this, she thought, it was hard to believe that he had ever know a troubled moment.  p. 159
62. Swing – poetry of motion:  There is a thing that sometimes happens in rowing that is hard to achieve and hard to define.  Many crews, even winning crews, never really find it.  Others find it but can’t sustain it.  It’s called “swing.”  It only happens when all eight oarsmen are rowing in such perfect unison that no single action by any one is out of synch with those of all the others.  It’s not just that the oars enter and leave the water at precisely the same instant.  Sixteen arms must begin to pull, sixteen knees must begin to fold and unfold, eight bodies must begin to slide forward and backward, eight backs must bend and straighten all at once.  Each minute action—each subtle turning of wrists—must be mirrored exactly by each oarsman, from one end of the boat to the other.  Only then will the boat continue to run, unchecked, fluidly and gracefully between pulls of the oars.  Only then does pain entirely give way to exultation.  Rowing then becomes a kind of perfect language.  Poetry, that’s what a good swing feels like. p. 161
63. More swing:  A good swing does not necessarily make crews go faster, except to the extent that if no one’s actions check the run of the boat, rowers get more bang for their buck on each stroke.  Mainly what it does is allow them to conserve power, to row at a lower stroke rate and still move through the water as efficiently as possible, and often more rapidly than another crew rowing less efficiently at a higher rate.  It allows them to possess a reserve of energy for gut-wrenching, muscle-screaming sprint at the end of a race. It is insanely difficult to keep a good swing as you raise your rate.  As the tempo increases, each of the myriad separate actions has to happen at shorter and shorter intervals, so that at some point it becomes virtually impossible to maintain a good swing at a high rate. But the closer a crew can come to that ideal—maintaining a good swing while rowing at a high rate—the closer they are to rowing on another plane, the plane on which champions row.  p. 162
64. Pocock on free – it’s got to be (Ch. 10): A boat is a sensitive thing, an eight-oared shell, and if it isn’t let go free, it doesn’t work for you. p. 173
65. Dust Bowl:  On April 14, the day after the Pacific Coast Regatta on the Oakland Estuary, the dust storms of the past several years were suddenly eclipsed by a single catastrophe that is still remembered in the Plains states as Black Sunday.  In only a few hours’ time, cold, dry winds howling out of the north scoured from dry fields more than two times the amount of soil that had been excavated from the Panama Canal and lifted it eight thousand feet into the sky.  Across much of five states, late afternoon sunlight gave way to utter darkness.  The dust particles the wind carried generated so much static electricity in the air that barbed-wire fences glowed in the midday darkness.  Farmers at work in their fields crumpled to their hands and knees and groped aimlessly about, unable to find their way to their own doorsteps.  Cars careened off roads and into ditches, where their occupants clutched cloths to their faces, struggled to breath, gagged, and coughed up dirt.  Sometimes they abandoned their cars and staggered up to the houses of strangers and pounded on their front doors, begging for and receiving shelter.  The next day, Kansas City AP bureau chief Ed Stanley inserted the phrase “the dust bowl” into a wire service account and the devastation, and a new term entered the American lexicon.  Over the next few months, as the extent of the devastation settled in, the trickle of ragged refugees that Joe Rantz had witnessed heading west the previous summer became a torrent.  Within a few years, two and a half million Americans would pull up stakes and head west into an uncertain future—rootless, dispossessed, bereft of the simple comfort and dignity of having a place to call home. pp. 174-175
66. Passivism:  At the same time, the drumbeat of ominous headlines emanating from Europe had begun to grow steadily louder and more insistent that spring.  Four weeks’ worth of headlines from the Seattle Times alone were reason enough for worry: “Death Penalty for Pacifists Is Decreed as Germany Girds”  (April 19); “Nazis Jail Aged Nuns, Monks in New Attack on Christianity” (April 27); “German Move to Build U-Boats Rouses Anxiety in Great Britain” (April 28); “Britain to Match Nazi Planes; Calls on Hitler to Fix Limits: (May 2); “Hitler Warned by Britain Not to Militarize Rhineland Zone” (May 7); “Nazis Have New Weapon: 60-Knot Boat” (May 17); “Hitler Police Jail U. S. Citizen” (May 18).  The dark news was difficult to ignore.  But not impossible.  The vast majority of Americans, in Seattle and elsewhere, did exactly that.  The affairs of Europe still seemed a million miles away, and that’s exactly where most people wanted to keep them.  p. 176
67. Paradoxes of rowing:  Rowing is, in a number of ways, a sport of fundamental paradoxes.  For one thing, an eight-oared racing shell—powered by unusually large and physically powerful men or women—is commanded, controlled, and directed by the smallest and least powerful person in the boat. The coxswain (nowadays often a female even in an otherwise male crew) must have the force of character to look men or women twice his or her size in the face, bark orders at them, and be confident that the leviathans will respond instantly and unquestioningly to those orders.  It is perhaps the most incongruous relationship in sports.  Another paradox lies in the physics of the sport.  The object of the endeavor is, of course, to make the boat move through the water as quickly as possible.  But the faster the boat goes, the harder it is to row well.  The enormously complicated sequence of movements, each of which an oarsman must execute with exquisite precision, becomes exponentially more difficult to perform as the stroke rate increases.  Rowing at a beat of thirty-six is vastly more challenging than rowing at a beat of twenty-six.  As the tempo accelerates, the penalty of a miscue—an oar touching the water a fraction of a second too early or too late, for instance—becomes ever more severe, the opportunity for disaster ever greater.  At the same time, the exertion required to maintain a high rate makes the physical pain all the more devastating and therefore the likelihood of a miscue greater.  In this sense, speed is both the rower’s ultimate goal and also his greatest foe.  Put another way, beautiful and effective rowing often means painful rowing.  An unnamed coach is reputed to have said, bluntly, “Rowing is like a beautiful duck.  On the surface it is all grace, but underneath the bastard’s paddling like mad!”   But the greatest paradox of the sport has to do with the psychological makeup of the people who pull the oars.  Great oarsmen and oarswomen are necessarily made of conflicting stuff—of oil and water, fire and earth.  On the one hand, they must possess enormous self-confidence, strong egos, and titanic willpower.  They must be almost immune to frustration.  Nobody who does not believe deeply in himself or herself—in his or her ability to endure hardship and to prevail over adversity—is likely even to attempt something as audacious as competitive rowing at the highest levels.  The sport offers so many opportunities for suffering and so few opportunities for glory that only the most tenaciously serf reliant and self-motivated are likely to succeed at it.  And yet, at the same time—and this is key—no other sport demands and rewards the complete abandonment of the self the way that rowing does.  Great crews may have men or women of exceptional talent or strength; they may have outstanding coxswains or stroke oars or bowmen; but they have no stars.  The team effort—the perfectly synchronized flow of muscle, oars, boat, and water; the single, whole, unified, and beautiful symphony that a crew in motion becomes—is all that matters.  Not the individual, not the self.  pp. 177-179
68. Psychological and physical mix to perfection: The psychology is complex.  Even as rowers must subsume their often fierce sense of independence and self-reliance, at the same time they must hold true to their individuality, their unique capabilities as oarsmen or oarswomen or, for that matter, as human beings.  Even if they could, few rowing coaches would simply clone their biggest, strongest, smartest, and most capable rowers.  Crew races are not won by clones.  They are won by crews, and great crews are carefully balanced blends of both physical abilities and personality types.  In physical terms, for instance, one rower’s arms might be longer than another’s, but the latter might have a stronger back than the former.  Neither is necessarily a better or more valuable oarsman than the other; both the long arms and the strong back are assets to the boat.  But if they are to row well together, each of these oarsmen must adjust to the needs and capabilities of the other.  Each must be prepared to compromise something in the way of optimizing his stroke for the overall benefit of the boat—the shorter-armed man reaching a little farther, the longer-armed man foreshortening his reach just a bit—so that both men’s oars remain parallel and both blades enter and exit the water at precisely the same moment.  This highly refined coordination and cooperation must be multiplied out across eight individuals of varying statures and physiques to make the most of each individual’s strengths.  Only in this way can the capabilities that come with diversity—lighter, more technical rowers in the bow and stronger, heavier pullers in the middle of the boat, for instance—be turned to advantage rather than disadvantage.  p. 179
69. Diversity - Character:  The capitalizing on diversity is perhaps even more important when it comes to the characters of the oarsmen.  A crew composed entirely of eight amped-up, overly aggressive oarsmen will often degenerate into a dysfunctional brawl in a boat or exhaust itself in the first leg of a long race.  Similarly, a boatload of quiet but strong introverts may never find the common core of fiery resolve that causes the boat to explode past its competitors when all seems lost.  Good crews are good blends of personalities: someone to lead the charge, someone to hold something in reserve; someone to pick a fight, someone to make peace; someone to think things through, someone to charge ahead without thinking.  Somehow all this must mesh.  That’s the steepest challenge.  Even after the right mixture is found, each man or woman in the boat must recognize his or her place in the fabric of the crew, accept it, and accept the others as they are.  It is an exquisite thing when it all comes together in just the right way.  The intense bonding and the sense of exhilaration that results from it are what many oarsmen row for, far more than for trophies or accolades.  But it takes young men or women of extraordinary character as well as extraordinary physical ability to pull it off.  pp. 179-180
70. Pocock on what an oar’s man feels (Ch. 11):  And the oarsman, too, when he has his mind trained at the university and his body fit.  Feels something. . . . I think oarsmen understand what I’m talking about.  They get that way.  I’ve seen oarsmen—actually I saw one man, who was so rarin’ to go, so fit and bright, I saw him try to run up a wall.  Now isn’t that ridiculous?  But he felt that good; he wanted to run up that wall.  p. 193
71. At the end of the last Ice Age:  Then he turned north and descended into the Washington scablands, a tortured landscape shaped by a series of cataclysms between twelve and fifteen thousand years ago.  As the last ice age waned, a two-thousand-foot-high ice dam holding back a vast lake in Montana—later dubbed Lake Missoula by geologists—gave way not once but several times, unleashing a series of floods of unimaginable scope and ferocity.  In the greatest of these, during a period of roughly forty-eight hours, 220 cubic kilometers of water rushed over much of what is now northern Idaho, eastern Washington, and the northern edge of Oregon, carrying more than ten times the flow of all the rivers in the world. A massive wall of water, mud, and rock—well over a thousand feet tall in places—exploded over the countryside, rumbling southwest toward the Pacific at speed up to one hundred miles per hour, leveling whole mountains, sluicing away millions of tons of topsoil, and gouging deep scars called “coulees” in the underlying bedrock.  pp. 193-194
72. Joe’s job:  Thirty minutes later, he walked out of the office with a job.  Most of the jobs remaining at the dam site, he had been told, were for common laborers, payed fifty cents an hour.  But studying the application form, Joe had noticed that there were higher pay grades for certain jobs—especially for the men whose job it was to dangle from cliff faces in harnesses and pound away at the reluctant rock with jackhammers.  The jackhammer job paid seventy-five cents an hour, so Joe had put a check next to the box and stepped into the examination room for his physical.  Working with a jackhammer under those conditions required enough upper body strength to fight the punishing kickback of the machine, enough leg strength to keep the body pushed away from the cliff face all day, enough grace and athleticism to clamber around on the cliffs while dodging rocks falling from above, and enough self-assurance to climb over the edge of the cliff in the first place.  By the time Joe had stripped down to his shorts and told the doctor that he rowed crew at the university, the job was his.  pp. 194-195
73. More of Joe’s job:  The jackhammer work was brutal, but Joe came to enjoy it. For eight hours a day, he dangled on a rope in the furnace like heat of the canyon, pounding at the wall of rock in front of him.  The jackhammer weighed seventy-five pounds and seemed to have a life and a will of its own, endlessly pushing back, trying to wrest itself out of Joe’s grip as he in turn tried to push it into the rock.  The continual rapid-fire chock-chock-chock of his machine and those of the men around him was deafening.  Rock dust, gritty and irritating, swirled around him, got in his eyes, his mouth, and his nose.  Sharp chips and shards of rock flew up and stung his face.  Sweat dripped from his back and fell away into the void below.  Hundreds of feet of loose rock—the “overburden” as the engineers called it—had to be peeled away from the face of the cliffs in order to get down to the older granite bedrock on which the foundation of the dam would be built.  Then the granite itself had to be shaped to conform to the contours of the future dam.  It was hard stuff.  So hard that roughly two thousand feet of steel disappeared every day from the bit ends of all the jackhammers and pneumatic drills at work in the canyon.  But tough as the work was, there was much about it that suited Joe.  He learned that summer to work closely with the men dangling on either side of him, each keeping an eye out for rocks falling from above, calling out warning to those below, searching for better places to find seams in the rock.  He liked the easygoing camaraderie of it, the simple, stark maleness of it.  Most days he worked without a shirt or hat.  His muscles quickly grew bronzed and his hair ever blonder under the ardent desert sun.  By the end of each day, he was exhausted, parched with thirst, and ravenously hungry.  But—much as he sometimes had after a hard row on Lake Washington back home—he also felt cleansed by the work,  He felt lithe and limber, full of youth and grace.  pp. 197-198
74. Johnny White – all-American boy:  Johnny White as the number two man in Tom Bolle’s outstanding freshman boat that year.  An inch shorter than Joe, and more slightly built, he was nevertheless a fine physical specimen and striking to look at, with fine, regular features; graceful proportioned limbs, and an open, eager face.  He had warm, inviting eyes and a sunny smile.  If you’d wanted a poster model for the all-American boy, Johnny would have fit the bill.  He was also a thoroughly nice kid and nearly as poor as Joe Rantz.  p. 200
75. Poor family at work:  Finally, he [John White – Johnny’s dad] got up from his chair one day, went down to the lakeshore, and began to plant a garden.  His kids needed to be fed, and he was out of money, but food could be grown.  Before long he had the finest garden in the neighborhood.  In the rich black soil along the lakeshore, he grew tall sweet corn and large, luscious tomatoes, both perpetual challenges to Seattle gardeners.  He grew loganberries, and picked apples and pears from trees on the property.  He raised chickens.  Johnny’s mother, Maimie, bartered the eggs for other goods, canned the tomatoes, made wine from the loganberries.  She grew peonies in another garden along the side of the house and sold them to a florist in Seattle.  She went to a flour mill for flour sacks, bleached them, and made them into dish towels that she sold around town.  Once a week she bought a roast and served it for Sunday dinner.  The rest of the week they ate leftovers.  Then in 1934 the city decided to open a swimming beach along the shore in front of the house.  They condemned the Whites’ waterfront garden.  p. 200
76. Johnny on his way to the boat:  Johnny was the apple of his [father’s] eye, and he wanted more than anything for his son to become an oarsman.  Johnny, in turn, wanted nothing more than to meet his father’s often very high expectations, whatever they might be.  And Johnny hadn’t let him down so far.  He was unusually bright, accomplished, and ambitious, and he had graduated from Franklin High School two years early, at the age of sixteen.  That had created a small problem.  He was far too young and too underdeveloped to row for the university, the only rowing game in town.  So by mutual agreement with his father, Johnny went to work—both to make enough money to attend the university and, just as importantly, to manufacture enough muscle to row with the best of them when he got there.  He chose the hardest, most physical challenging work he could find: first wrestling steel beams and heavy equipment around a shipyard on the waterfront in Seattle and then stacking lumber and manhandling massive fir and cedar logs with a peavey in a nearby sawmill.  By the time he arrived at the university, two years later, he had enough cash to make it through a couple of years of school and enough braw to quickly emerge as one of Tom Bolles’s most impressive freshmen.  Now, in the summer of 1935, he’d arrived at Grand Coulee looking for more—more money and more muscle.  p. 201
77. Chuck Day – ferocious competitor:  At first blush it didn’t seem to make sense to Joe and a kid like Day would have any reason to work in a place as dirty and dangerous as the coulee.  In point of fact, though—as Joe would soon find out—there was no place that Chuck Day was more likely to be that summer than at Grand Coulee.  To understand him, you had to understand his heart.  He was a ferocious competitor.  If you put a challenge in front of him, he attacked it like a bulldog.  And he just plain didn’t know the meaning of surrender.  If a river needed to be dammed, then by God just get out of the way and let him at it.  p. 202
78. Friends around Campfire, boys free in the wilderness: For the most part, though, they stayed in Grand Coulee, where they could toss a football around in the sagebrush, chuck rocks off the edges of the cliffs, bask shirtless on stone ledges in the warm morning sun, sit bleary-eyed in the smoke around a campfire at night telling ghost stories as coyotes yelped in the distance, and generally act like the teenagers they actually were—free and easy boys, cut loose in the wide expanse of the western desert. p. 205  
79. Pocock—Be part of the boat (Ch. 12): Just as a skilled rider is said to become part of his horse, the skilled oarsman must become part of his boat.  p. 207
80. Hitler killed “his” boys:  A little less than ten years in the future, in the last few desperate days of the Third Reich, scores of Hitler Youth—boys as young as ten or eleven—would crouch below the bell tower among blocks of fine Franconian limestone, the rubble of the building now being erected, shooting at advancing Russian boys, many of the not a great deal older than they.  And in those last few days, as Berlin burned all around them, some of those German goys—those who cried or refused to shoot or tried to surrender—would be lined up against these limestone slabs by their officers and shot.  p. 208
81. The coach building the team, the boat: He [Ulbrickson] was going to have to overlook boys he like personally and work with boys he didn’t necessarily like, He was going to have to outwit Ky Ebright—no small challenge.  He was going to have to find funding in what was shaping up to be yet another lean year.  And he was going to have to make better use of perhaps his greatest resource, George Pocok. P. 212
82. Pocock’s council to Joe – the art of building beauty: On a bright, crisp September morning, as Pocock started up the steps to his loft in the shell house, he noticed Joe doing sit-ups on a bench at the back of the room.  He motioned Joe to come over, said he’d noticed him peering up at the shop occasionally, and asked him if he’d like to look around.  Joe all but bounded up the stairs.  The loft was bright and airy, with morning light pouring in from several large windows in the back wall.  The air was thick with the sweet—sharp scent of marine varnish.  Drifts of sawdust and curls of wood shavings lay on the floor.  A long I beam stretched nearly the full length of the loft, and on it lay a framework of an eight-oared shell under construction.  Pocock started off by explaining the various tools he used.  He showed Joe wood plans, their wooden handles burnished by decades of use, their blades so sharp and precise they could shave off curls of wood as thin and transparent as tissue paper, He handed him different old rasps and augers and chisels and files and mallets he’d brought over from England.  Some of them, he said, were a century old.  He explained how each kind of tool had many variations, how each file, for instance, was subtly different from another, how each served a different function but all were indispensable in the making of a fine shell.  He guided Joe to a lumber rack and pulled out samples of the different woods he used—soft, malleable sugar pine, hard yellow spruce, fragrant cedar, and clear white ash.  He held each piece up and inspected it, turning it over and over in his hands, and talking about the unique properties of each and how it took all of them contributing their individual qualities to make a shell that would come to life in the water,  He pulled a long cedar plank from a rack and pointed out the annuals growth rings,  Joe already knew a good deal about the qualities of cedar and about growth rings from his time splitting shakes with Charlie McDonald, but he was drawn in as Pocock began to talk about what they meant to him.  Joe crouched next to the older man and studied the wood and listened intently.  Pocock said the rings told more than a tree’s age; they told the whole story of the tree’s life over as much as two thousand years.  Their thickness and thinness spoke of hard years of bitter struggle intermingled with rich years of sudden growth.  The different colors spoke of the various soils and minerals that the tree’s roots encountered, some harsh and stunting, some rich and nourishing.  Flaws and irregularities told how the trees endured fires and lightning strikes and windstorms and infestation and yet continued to grow.  As Pocock talked, Joe grew mesmerized.  It wasn’t just what the Englishman was saying, or the soft, earthy cadence of his voice, it was the calm reverence with which he talked about the wood—as if there was something holy and sacred about it—that drew Joe in.  The wood, Pocock murmured, taught us about survival, about overcoming difficulty, about prevailing over adversity, but it also taught us something about the underlying reason for surviving in the first place.  Something about infinite beauty, about undying grace, about things larger and greater than ourselves.  About the reasons we were all here.   “Sure, I can make a boat,” he said, and then added, quoting the poet Joyce Kilmer, “’But only God can make a tree.’”  Pocock pulled out a thin sheet of cedar, one that had been milled down to three-eighths of an inch for the skin of a shell.  He flexed the wood and had Joe do the same.  He talked about camber and the life it imparted to a shell when wood was put under tension.  He talked about the underlying strength of the individual fibers in cedar and how, coupled with their resilience, they gave the wood its ability to bounce back and resume its shape, whole and intact, or how, under steam and pressure, they could take a new form and hold it forever.  The ability to yield, to bend, to give way, to accommodate, he said, was sometimes a source of strength in men as well as in wood, so long as it was helmed by inner resolve and by principle.  He took Joe to one end of the long I beam on which he was constructing the frame for a new shell.  Pocock sighted along the pine keel and invited Joe to do the same.  It had to be precisely straight, he said, for the whole sixty-two-foot length of the boat, not a centimeter of variance from one end to the other or the boat would never run true.  And in the end the trueness could only come from its builder, from the care with which he exercised his craft, from the amount of heart he put into it.  Pocock paused and stepped back from the frame of the shell and put his hands on his hips, carefully studying the work he had so far done.  He said for him the craft of building a boat was like religion.  It wasn’t enough to master the technical detail of it.  You had to give yourself up to it spiritually; you had to surrender yourself absolutely to it.  When you were done and walked away from the boat, you had to feel that you had left a piece of yourself behind in it forever, a bit of your heart.  He turned to Joe.  “Rowing,” he said, “is like that.  And a lot of life is like that too, the parts that really matter anyway.  Do you know what I mean, Joe?”   Joe, a bit nervous, not at all certain that he did, nodded tentatively, went back downstairs, and resumed his sit-ups, trying to work it out.  pp. 213-215
83. Helping a friend, working through college, and the power of service:  At the end of the day, after the others had drifted off to their homes or their part-time jobs, Joe often lingered at the shell house well into the evening, as he had the previous spring.  On one of those evenings, he came out of the steam room wrapped in a towel and found the big, gangly number five man from last year’s jayvee boat, Stub McMillin, pushing a broom around and emptying trash cans.  Joe realized that McMillin must have taken a job as the shell house janitor.   With all the hard feelings between the two boats, Joe had never had much to do with McMillin, but now, watching him at work, he felt a surge of affinity for the boy.  He sauntered over, stuck out his hand, struck up a conversation, and finally confided what he had long kept secret from the other fellows—that he himself worked a late-night shift as janitor at the YMCA.  Joe quickly found that he liked Stub McMillin a good deal.  He’d grown up in Seattle, on Queen Anne Hill, and was nearly as poor as Joe.  He was putting himself through college by working at anything and everything that came his way—mowing lawns, delivering newspapers, sweeping floors.  When he wasn’t rowing, studying, or sleeping, he was working, and just barely keeping himself clothed and fed doing it.  Joe found it comfortable to be around McMillin. He felt as if he could let his guard down a little when it came to talking about his own financial circumstances.  Before long, Joe was staying late almost every day, pushing broom alongside McMillin, helping him get through his work quickly so he could go home and study.   pp. 218-129
84. Joe and Pocock, (boys need mothers):  Sometimes. Late in the day, instead of helping McMillin, Joe would climb the stairs at the back of the shell house and see if George Pocock had time for a chat.  If the Englishman was still working, Joe would perch on a bench, his long legs bent in front of him, and just watch the Englishman, not saying much, studying the way the boat builder shaped the wood. If Pocock was done for the day, Joe would help him put tools and lumber away or sweep the sawdust and wood shaving from the floor for him.  Pocock didn’t deliver any more long discourses on wood or rowing or life, as he had the first time they’d talked.  Instead he seemed interested in learning more about Joe.  One afternoon he asked Joe how he came to be there, at the shell house.  It was a big question asked in a small way, Joe realized.  He answered hesitantly, cautiously, unused to unveiling himself.  But Pocock persisted, gently and deftly probing him about his family, about where he’d come from and where he hoped to go.  Joe talked in fits and starts, circling nervously around stores about his mother and father and Thula, about Spokane and the Gold and Ruby mine and Sequim.  Pocock asked him about his likes and dislikes, the things that made him get up in the morning, the things he feared.  Slowly he zeroed in on what he most wanted to know: “Why do you row?”  “What do you hope to get out of it, Joe?”  And the more he enticed Joe to talk, the more Pocock began to plumb the inner workings of this enigma of a boy.  It helped that Pocock’s own mother had died six months after his birth.  His father’s second wife had died a few years later, before George’s remembering.  He knew something about growing up in a motherless home, and about the hole it left in a boy’s heart.  He knew about the ceaseless drive to make oneself whole, and about the endless yearning.  Slowly he began to close in on the essence of Joe Rantz.   p. 219
85. Building the team: Ulbrickson had magical, almost alchemical, materials to work with—Tom Bolles’s outstanding freshman champions from last year, now sophomores; the boys in Joe’s boat, all juniors now and still undefeated; and some outstanding boys from last season’s VJ boat, now a mix of juniors and seniors.  And the ruminations that Ulbrickson had given the matter in September seemed to pay dividends right from the start.  He had devoted a lot of thought to his initial boat assignments, and in the first few days of rowing two of the new crews seemed to show particular promise.  The first was built largely around a core of last year’s freshmen: Don Hume, the big powerful stroke; Gordy Adam at number seven; William Seaman at number six; and Johnny White at number four.  The only member of Joe’s old crew in that first boat was Shorty Hunt, at number two.  The second boat that showed particular promise had three of Joe’s old crewmates: Bob Green at number six, Charles Hartman at Number two , and Roger Morris in the bow.  But Joe Rantz hadn’t made either of those boats.  For the next few weeks, he bumped back and forth between two other boats, rowing hard but his spirits starting to flag again as he realized just how stiff the competition was going to be this year.   It wasn’t just the boat assignments that ate at Joe that fall, or the growing realization that getting to Berlin was going to be harder than anything he had ever done.  Like most competitive rowers, he was drawn to difficult things.  A good challenge had always interested him, appealing to him.  That was, in many ways, why he rowed.  pp. 220-221
86. Cold Workouts:  Al Ulbrickson sent his four potential varsity boats out onto Lake Washington nonetheless.  This was serious cold-weather rowing.  The boys rowed with white knuckles and chattering teeth, their hands so cold they could hardly feel the oars, their feet throbbing with pain.  Icicles dangled from the bow, the stern, and the riggers that held the oarlocks.  Layer upon layer of clear, hard ice grew on the shafts of the oars themselves as they dipped in and out of the water, weighing them down.  Lumps of ice formed wherever water splashed on the boys’ sweatshirts and the stocking hats they wore pulled down over their ears.  p. 223
87. The death of Charlie McDonald: Joe had been struggling with his rowing for weeks, especially since Thula had died.  Then he got a letter from Sequim.  Charlie McDonald was dead too, killed in an automobile crash on Highway 101.  It was a stunning blow.  Charlie had been an adviser and a teacher, the one adult who had stood by him and given him a chance when no one else had.  Now he was gone, and Joe found himself unable to focus on anything other than the losses back home.  p. 224
88. Pocock on Rhythm – Swing (Ch. 13):  When you get the rhythm in an eight, it’s pure pleasure to be in it.  It’s not hard work when the rhythm comes—that “swing” as they call it.  I’ve heard men shriek out with delight when that swing came in an eight; it’s a thing they’ll never forget as long as they live.  P. 229 
89. Team Building:  When Joe reported to the shell house that Monday and glanced at the chalkboard, he was surprised to find that his name was listed among those in the number one varsity boat, as were Shorty Hunt’s and Roger Morris’s.  After rowing in the number three and four shells all fall, Joe couldn’t fathom why he had suddenly been promoted.  As it turned out, it wasn’t really much of a promotion.  Ulbrickson had partially reconstituted some of the old boat assignments from 1935, purely on a temporary basis.  He wanted to spend the first few weeks working on fundamentals. “As a general rule,” he said, “men are in more receptive mood for pointers when working with familiar teammates.”  As soon as they started rowing at a racing beat, though, he would bust the boatings up and it would once again be every man for himself.  The boat assignments really didn’t amount to a hill of beans for now.  p. 229
90. Bobby Moch:  At least one thing was obvious, though.  If a Washington boat did go on to ply the waters of the Langer See in Berlin later that year, Bobby Moch was going to be sitting in the stern with a megaphone strapped to his face.  At five foot seven and 119 pounds, Mock was almost the perfect size for a coxswain.  George Pocock, in fact, designed his shells to perform optimally with a 120-pount coxswain.  Even less weight was generally desirable, but only provided that the man had the strength to steer the boat.  Like jockeys, coxswains often went to extraordinary lengths to keep their weight down—they starved themselves, they purged, they exercised compulsively, they spent long hours in the steam room trying to sweat off an extra pound or two.  Sometime oarsmen who thought their cox was weighing them down took matter into their own hands and locked their diminutive captain in the steam room for a few hours.  “Typical coxswain abuse,” one Washington cox later said, laughing.  In Bobby Moch’s case, staying small had never been much of a problem.  And at any rate, even if he had carried an extra pound here or there, the roughly three pounds devoted to his brain would have more than made up for it. . . . Bobby’s father, Gaston—a Swiss watchmaker and jeweler—was not a large man.  But he was a prominent member of the citizenry, a proud member of the all-volunteer fire department, and was celebrated for having driven the first automobile twelve mile from Aberdeen to Montesano, a journey that he had accomplished in a jaw-dropping hour and a half.  When Bobby was five, a botched operation on his appendix nearly killed him.  The recovery left him short, skinny, and sickly—affected with severe asthma—throughout his grade-school years and beyond.  Determined not to let his frailty and his stature stand in his way, in high school he went out for every sport he could think of, mastering none but playing all of them tenaciously.  When he couldn’t make it onto the school football team, he and other boys who weren’t large enough to make the cut gathered on the vacant lot just down Broad Street from his home, playing rough-and-tumble scrub football without benefit of helmets or pads.  The smallest of the small boys on the lot, Bobby was always chosen last, and though he spent much of each game with his face planted in the dirt, he later credited the experience for much of his subsequent success in life.  “It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down,” he told his daughter, Marilynn.  “What matters is how many times you get up.”  In his senior year in high school, by sheer force of will, he lettered in—of all things—basketball.  And the three pounds of gray matter he carried around in his skull served him well in the classroom.  He wound up at the top of his class, honored as Montesano High’s class valedictorian in 1932. When he enrolled at the University of Washington, he set his sights on coxing.  As with everything else he attempted, he had to fight tooth and nail to win a seat in the stern of one of Al Ulbrickson’s boats. But once he was in that seat, his tenacity quickly made a believer out of Al Ulbrickson.  Like everyone else in the shell house, Ulbrickson soon discovered that the only time Mock didn’t’ seem entirely happy and comfortable in the coxswain’s seat was when he was in the lead.  As long as he could see another boat out ahead of him, as long as he had something to overcome, someone to beat, the boy was on fire.  By 1935 Moch wielded the megaphone in the JV boat that contended with Joe and the other sophomores for varsity status that season.  He wasn’t a popular choice.  He had displaced a well-regarded boy his new crewmates had been rowing with for two years, and they initially refused to give Moch the respect a coxswain absolutely depends on.  That just made Moch push them harder.  “That was a tough year.  I wasn’t liked at all,” he later said.  “I demanded they do better, so I made a lot of enemies.”  Moch drove those boys like Simon Legree with a whip.  He had a deep baritone voice that was surprising in a man so small, and he used it to good effect, bellowing out commands with absolute authority.  But he was also canny enough to know when to let up on the crew, when to flatter them, when to implore them, when to joke around with them.  Slowly he won his new crewmates over.  The bottom line was that Moch was smart and he knew how to use his smarts.  In fact, by the end of the1936 season he’d have a Phi Beta Kappa key of his own to twirl on his finger, just like Al Ulbrickson.  pp. 231-233
91. Pocock to Joe – how to row in the stars:  One exceptionally stormy afternoon in early March, when the boy were lounging morosely about the shell house,  George Pocock tapped Joe on the shoulder and asked him to come up into the loft,  He had a few thoughts he wanted to share with him.  In the shop Pocock leaned over one side of a new shell and began to apply varnish to its upturned hull. Joe pulled a sawhorse to the other side of the shell and sat down on it, facing the older man.  Pocock began by saying he’d been watching Joe row for a while now, that he was a fine oarsman.  He’d noted a few technical faults—that Joe was braking his arms at the elbows a little too early in the stroke and not catching the water as cleanly as he would if he keep this hands moving at the same speed that the water was moving under the boat.  But that wasn’t what he wanted to talk about.  He told Joe that there were times when he seemed to think he was the only fellow in the boat, as if it was up to him to row the boat across the finish line all by himself.  When a man rowed like that, he said, he was bound to attack the water rather than to work with it, and worse, he was bound not to let his crew help him row.  He suggested that Joe think of a well-rowed race as a symphony, and himself as just one player in the orchestra.  If one fellow in an orchestra was playing out of tune, or playing at a different tempo, the whole piece would naturally be ruined.  That’s the way it was with rowing.  What mattered more than how hard a man rowed was how well everything he did in the boat harmonized with what the other fellows were doing.  And a man couldn’t harmonize with his crewmates unless he opened his heart to them.  He had to care about his crew.  It wasn’t just the rowing but his crewmates that he had to give himself up to, even if it meant getting his feelings hurt.  Pocock paused and looked up at Joe.  “If you don’t like some fellow in the boat, Joe, you have to learn to like him.  It has to matter to you whether he wins the race, not just whether you do.”  He told Joe to be careful not to miss his chance.  He reminded him that he’d already learned to row past pain, past exhaustion, past the voice that told him it couldn’t be done.  That meant he had an opportunity to do things most men would never have a chance to do.  And he concluded with a remark that Joe would never forget.  “Joe, when you really start trusting those other boys, you will feel a power at work within you that is far beyond anything you’ve ever imagined.  Sometime, you will feel as if you have rowed right off the planet and are rowing among the stars.” pp. 234-235
92. Singing:  When he returned to the warm cave his father had constructed, Joe toweled his hair dry, unpacked his banjo, and pulled a chair up in front of the woodstove.  He gathered the kids around him.  He tuned the banjo carefully, fiddling with knobs and plucking at steel strings.  Then he cleared his throat, cracked open a big white smile, and began to sing.  One by one, the kids and Joyce and Harry all joined in.  p. 237
93. The Boys in the Boat:  By March 19, Al Ulbrickson figured he had found his best bet for an Olympic boat.  He still had it pegged as the second boat on his chalkboard, but the boys in it were beginning to edge the first boat consistently an Ulbrickson was quietly putting his final selections into this boat.  At bow he had Roger Morris.  At number two, Chuck Day.  At number three was one of Tom Bolles’s freshmen from the previous year, Gordy Adam, the dairy-farm kid from up on the Nooksack River near the Canadian border.  Gordy had attended a two-room country schoolhouse, then Mount Baker High in the small town of Deming.  Then he’d spent five brutal months fishing for salmon on the Bering Sea, up in Alaska, to put together enough money to start at the university.  He was a quiet young man.  So quiet that in the previous year’s race against California he’d rowed the whole two miles with his thumb cut to the bone and never mentioned it to anyone.  In honor of that Royal Brougham had begun to refer to him now a Gordy “Courage” Adam.  At number four Ulbrickson had lithe, good-looking Johnny White.  Big, rangy Stub McMillin was at number five.  Shorty Hunt was at number six.  At number seven was another of Tom Bolles’s former freshmen, Merton Hatch.  At the stroke position was a fourth member of last year’s freshman crew: poker-faced Don Hume.  It was an unusual move to put a nineteen-year-old sophomore at the critical stroke position, but Hume had proven so sensational as a freshman that many were already saying he might turn out to be Washington’s best stroke since Ulbrickson himself had rowed at that position, maybe even better.  He hailed from Anacortes, then a gritty lumber and fish-canning port fifty miles north of Seattle.  In high school he’d been the consummate all-around athlete—a star in football, basketball, and track—and an honor student.  He was also an accomplished pianist, a devotee of Fats Waller, and capable of pulling off anything from swing tunes to Mendelssohn.  When he was down at a piano, he always drew a crowd.  After the crash, his father lost his job at a pulp mill and moved to Olympia in search of work.  Don stayed behind in Anacorte, lodging with family friends and eventually finding work in a lumber mill.  Walking the cobbled beach on the channel between Anacortes and Guemes Island one day, he came across and abandoned and dilapidated thirteen-foot clinker-built rowboat.  He refurbished it, took it down to the water, and discovered that he loved rowing.  Loved it, in fact, more than anything he had ever done.  For a year follow his graduation from high school he rowed obsessively—up and down the channel on foggy days and on long voyages out among the San Juan Islands on sunny days.  When the job at the lumber mill gave out and he decided to join his parents in Olympia, he rowed all the way there—a six-day voyage that covered nearly a hundred miles of water.  That fall he moved to Seattle, registered as geology major at the university, and then made a beeline for the shell house, where Tom Bolles and Al Ulbrickson quickly discovered that they had an extraordinary athlete on their hands.  Hume pulled a smooth as silk, and with the precise, mechanical regularity of a metronome.  He seemed to have an innate, deep –seated sense of rhythm.  But more than that, his mastery of his oar, his steady reliability, and his rock-solid sureness were so apparent that every other boy in the boat could sense them immediately and thus easily fall into synch with Hume regardless of water conditions or the state of a race.  He was key.  In the stern of Ulbrickson’s star boat, wearing the megaphone was, inevitably, Bobby Mock.  Joe was in the third boat.  And it looked as if he’d be staying there.  So fare he hadn’t even made the presumed JV boat, and so it looked as if he would not be rowing in the Cal race or beyond.  But then, on March 21, he walked into the shell house and found his name on the chalkboard, sitting at seat number seven in boat number two, the boat everyone was talking about as the best bet for the varsity slot.  He couldn’t believe it.  He didn’t know if Pocock had talked to Ulbrickson or if Merton Hatch had simply messed up in some spectacular way, or if Ulbrickson simply needed someone else at number seven for the day.  Whatever the reason, this was his chance.   pp. 238-239
94. Joe’s chance:  Joe knew what he had to do, and he found doing it surprisingly easy.  From the moment he stepped into the shell that afternoon, he felt at home.  He liked these boys.  He didn’t know Gordy Adam and Don Hume well, but both made a point of welcoming him aboard.  His oldest, most reliable shell house friend, Roger Morris, sitting up front in the bow, gave him a wave and shouted the length of the boat, “Hey, Joe, I see you finally found the right boat!”  His buddies from Grand Coulee, Chuck Day and Jonny White, were sitting up near the front too.  As he strapped his shoes to the footboard and began to lace his feet into the shoes, Stub McMillin, his face alight, said, ”OK, this boat is going to fly now, boys.”  Shorty Hunt slapped him on the back and whispered, “Got you back, Joe.” pp. 239-240
95. They fly:  Joe rowed that day as he had never been able to row before—as Pocock had told him to row, giving himself up to the crew’s effort entirely, rowing as if he were an extension of the man in front of him and the man behind him, following Hume’s stroke flawlessly, transmitting it back to Shorty behind him in one continuous flow of  muscle and wood.  It felt to Joe like a transformation, as if some kind of magic had come over him.  The nearest thing to it he could remember was the night as a freshman when he had found himself out on Lake Union with the lights of Seattle twinkling on the water and the breaths of his crewmates synchronized with his in white plumes in the dark, cold air.  Now, as he climbed out of the boat in the twilight, he realized that the transformation wasn’t so much that he was trying to do what Pocock had said as that this was a bunch of boys with whom he could do it.  He just trusted them.  In the end, it was that simple.  Ulbrickson wrote in the logbook, “Changed Rantz and Hatch and it helped a lot.”  That turned out to be an understatement on considerable magnitude.  It was the last change Ulbrickson had to make.  Over the next few days, the boat began to fly, just a Stub McMillin had said it would.  pp. 239-240
96. How to pick the best:  There was a straightforward reason for what was happening.  The boys in the Clipper had been winnowed down by punishing competition, and in the winnowing a kind of common character had issued forth: they were all skilled, they were all tough, they were all fiercely determined, but they were also all good-hearted.  Every one of them had come from humble origins or been humbled by the ravages of the hard times in which they had grown up.  Each in his own way, they had all learned that nothing could be taken for granted in life, that for all their strength and good looks and youth, forces were at work in the world that were greater then they.  The challenges they had faced together had taught them humility—the need to subsume their individual egos for the sake of the boat as a whole—and humility was the common gateway through which they were able now to come together and begin to do what they had not been able to do before.  p. 241
97. Delos Schoch: p. 245
98. Bobby’s secret:  Then Bobby Moch began to make use of those three pounds of brains.  He did what was counterintuitive but smart—what was manifestly hard to do but he knew was the right thing to do.  With his opponent out in front of him, rowing in the midthirties, and maintaining a lead, he told Hume to lower the stroke count. Hume dropped to twenty-nine.  Almost immediately the boys in the Washington boat found their swing.  Don Hume set the model, taking huge, smooth, deep pulls.  Joe and the rest of the boys fell in behind him.  Very slowly, seat by seat, the Husky Clipper began to regain water on the California Clipper.  By the one-mile mark, the two boats were even and Washington was starting to edge out ahead.  p. 247
98A. Pocock on Championship caliber of 1936 U. S. team (Ch. 14):  To be of championship caliber, a crew must have total confidence in each other, able to drive with abandon, confident that no man will get the full weight of the pull. . . . The 1936 crew, with Hume at stroke, rowed with abandon, beautifully timed.  Having complete confidence in one another they would bound on the stroke with one powerful cut; then ghost forward to the next stroke with the boat running true and hardly a perceptible slowdown.   They were a classic example of eight-oar rowing at its very best.  p. 251
99. Academic disaster: But on May 18, the shadow of academic disaster fell over the crew.  Ulbrickson learned that despite the break, four of his varsity boys still had incompletes and were just days away from being declared ineligible. He was furious.  Back in January he had warned the boys, “We can’t tarry with scholastic laggards . . . any who fall behind are just out, that’s all.”  Now he dragged Chuck Day, Stub McMillin, Don Hume, and Shorty Hunt into his office, slammed the door shut, and gave them hell.  “You can be the best individual oarsmen in the country, but you will be of no service or use to this squad unless you whip up your class efforts. . . . That means study!”  Ulbrickson was still fuming as the boys trooped out of the office.  Everything was suddenly at risk.  The worst of all was that while most of them just had to turn in some overdue work, Don Hume had to flat out ace a final examination to remain eligible.  If there was one boy Ulbrickson couldn’t afford to lose, it was Don Hume.  p. 253
100. Friendship at last:  The boys, though, were having the times of their lives.  On or off the water, they were almost always together now.  They ate together, studied together, and played together.  Most of them had joined the Varsity Boat Club and lived in the club’s rented house on Seventeenth Avenue, a block north of the campus, though Joe remained in the basement of the YMCA.  On weekend evening the gathered around the old upright piano in the club’s parlor and sang for hours as Don Hume tore through jazz tunes, show tunes, blues, and ragtime.  Sometimes Roger Morris pulled out his saxophone and joined in.  Sometimes Johnny White got out his violin and played along fiddle-style.  And almost always Joe got out his banjo or his guitar and joined in as well.  Nobody laughed at him anymore; nobody dreamed of laughing at him.  pp. 253-254
101. Grades up: Don Hume aced his exam.  The others finished their incompletes.  p. 254
102. Rowing in the stars: Late on the night of the final time trial, after the wind had died down and the waters had calmed, they had begun to row back up the river, in the dark, side by side with the freshman and JV boats.  Soon the red and green running lights of the coaches’ launch disappeared upriver.  The shells passed under two bridges draped with shimmering necklaces of amber lights.   Along the shore and upon the palisades, warm yellow light poured from the windows of homes and shell houses.  It was a moonless night.  The water was ink black.  Bobby Moch set the varsity boys to rowing at a leisurely twenty-two or twenty-three.  Joe and his crewmates chatted softly with the boys in the other two boats.  But they soon found that they had pulled out ahead without meaning to, just pulling soft and steady.  Soon, in fact, they had pulled so far ahead that they could not even hear the boys in the other boats.  And then, one by one, they realized that they couldn’t hear anything at all except for the gentle murmur of their blades dipping into and out of the water.  They were rowing in utter darkness now.  They were alone together in a realm of silence and darkness.  Years later, as old men, they all remembered the moment.  Bobby Moch recalled, “You couldn’t hear anything except of the oars going in the water . . . it’d be a ‘zep’ and that’s all you could hear . . . the oarlocks didn’t even rattle on the release.”  They were rowing perfectly, fluidly, mindlessly.  They were rowing as if on another plane, as if in a black void among the stars, just as Pocock had said they might.  And it was beautiful.  p. 259
103. F.D.R.’s house:  Most of the walls were lined from the floor to the high celling with shelves of books.  Any spot on the walls not taken up by books were covered with pictures of American presidents and various Roosevelts.  An ornate fireplace dominated the end of the room where they were seated.  In front of the fireplace was a fifteen-foot-long library table stacked with new editions of books on every conceivable topic.  Nearly every other table in the room had a vase of fresh flowers or a porcelain figurine on it.  Shorty Hunt, starting to relax, settled into a comfortable upholstered chair near the fireplace, and then nearly jumped out of it when Frank told him it was the president’s favorite, and that he occasionally delivered his famous fireside chats on the radio from that very chair.  p. 263
104. The national championship race ends:  Then, in the last two hundred yards, thinking itself fell away, and pain suddenly came shrieking back into the boat, descending on all of them at once, searing their legs, their arms, their shoulders, clawing at the backs, tearing at their hearts and lungs as they desperately gulped at the air.  And in those last two hundred yards, in an extraordinary burst of speed, rowing at forty stokes per minute, pounding the water into a froth, Washington passed California.  With each stroke the boys took their rivals down by the length of another seat.  By the time the two boats crossed the line, in the last vestiges of twilight, a glimmer of open water showed between the stern of the Husky Clipper and the bow of the California Clipper.  p. 271
105. Coach coaching: Al Ulbrickson went down to the water and followed the boys back upriver to the shell house in his launch.  As they rowed upstream in the warm summer dark, Ulbrickson saw that they were pulling flawlessly, with the exceptional grace and precision that was quickly becoming their norm.  He grabbed a megaphone and bellowed over the wet growling of the boat’s engine. “Now that’s it!  Why didn’t you row like that in the race?”  The boys glanced at one another, grinning nervously.  Nobody quite knew whether he was kidding or not.  p. 272
106. Pocock on swing = success = 4th dimension (Ch. 15): Therein lies the secret of successful crews: Their “swing,” that fourth dimension of rowing, which can only be appreciated by an oarsman who has rowed in a swinging crew, where the run is uncanny and the work of propelling the shell a delight.  P. 275
107. Coach gets them to believe in each other: As the Washington boys retreated to the Princeton Inn that night, anxiety cascaded down on them again.  Al Ulbrickson once more spent much of the evening going from room to room, sitting on the ends of bunks, reassuring his boys, reminding them that they had in effect won a sprint in the last two thousand meters at Poughkeepsie, telling them what they already knew in their hearts but needed to hear one more time—that they could beat any crew in America, at any distance, including California. All they had to do, he told them, was to continue to believe in one another.  pp. 278-279
108. Ready to go:  The Washington boys were bare chested, having stripped off their jerseys just before climbing into their boat.  They sat now with their oars in the water ready for the first hard pull, each staring straight ahead at the neck of the man in front of him, trying to breathe slow and easy, settling their hearts and minds into the boat.  Bobby Moch reached under his seat and touched Tom Bolles’s lucky fedora, a few extra ounces of weight in exchange for a lot of luck.  p. 280
109. Rowing right (The Olympic Trials):  The Husky Clipper remained stuck on California’s tail.  The boys continued to row at thirty-four.  But what a thirty-four it was.  Don Hume on the port side and Joe Rantz on the starboard were setting the pace with long, slow, sweet, fluid strokes, and the boys on each side were falling in behind them flawlessly.  From the banks of Lake Carnegie, the boys, their oars, and the Husky Clipper looked like a single thing, gracefully and powerfully coiling and uncoiling itself, propelling itself forward over the surface of the water.  Eight bare backs swung forward and backward in perfect unison.  Eight white blades swung forward and backward in perfect unison.  Eight white blades dipped in and out of the mirror like water at precisely the same instant.  Each time the blades entered the lake, they disappeared almost without a splash or ripple.  Each time the blades rose from it, the boat ghosted forward without check or hesitation.  Just before the fifteen-hundred-meter mark, Bobby Mock leaned into Don Hume and shouted, “Here’s California!  Here’s where we take California!”  Hume knocked the stroke rate up just a bit, to thirty-six, and Washington swiftly walked past Cal seat by seat.  They began to creep up on Penn’s stern.  Penn’s stroke man, Lloyd Saxton, watching the bow of the Husky Clipper coming up behind him, raised his beat to a killing forty-one.  But as Penn’s strokes grew more frequent, they began inevitably to grow shorter.  Glancing at the “Puddles” Washington’s blades left behind in the water, Saxton was shocked at the distance between them.  “They were spacing five feet to our three.  It was unbelievable,” he said after the race.  Washington pulled abreast of Penn.  But Bobby Moch still hadn’t really turned the boys loose.  Coming inside five hundred meters, he finally did so.  He barked at Hume to pick up the tempo.  The rate surged to thirty-nine and then immediately to forty.  For five or six strokes, the bows of the two boats contested for the lead, back and forth like the heads of racehorses coming down the stretch.  Finally Washington’s bow swung decisively out in front by a few feet.  From there on, it was, as Gordy Adam would later say, “duck soup.”  With four hundred meters to go, Washington simply blew past the exhausted boys from Penn, like an express train passing the morning milk train, swinging into the last few hundred meters with extraordinary grace and power.  The last twenty strokes, Shorty Hunt wrote his parent the next day, were “the best I ever felt in any boat.”  At the finish they were a full length ahead and still widening the lead.  As they crossed the line, Bobby Moch, defying the laws of physics and common sense, suddenly stood bolt upright in the stern of his twenty-four-inch-wide shell, triumphantly thrusting one first into the air. p. 282
110. How they won, a Coach’s praise:  Al Ulbrickson also made a few, much briefer, remarks to the press.  When asked how he accounted for his varsity’s success this year, he went straight t the heart of the matter” “Every man in the boat had absolute confidence in every one of his mates. . . . Why they won cannot be attributed to individuals, not even to stroke Don Hume.  Heartfelt cooperation all spring was responsible for the victory.”  Ulbrickson was no poet.  That was Pocock’s territory.  But the comment was as close as he could come to capturing what was in his heart.  He must have known, with a kind of certitude that he felt in his gut, that he finally had in his grasp what had eluded him for years.  Everything had converged; the right oarsmen, with the right attitudes, the right personalities, the right skills; a perfect boat, sleek, balanced, and wickedly fast: a winning strategy at both long and short distances; a coxswain with the guts and smarts to make hard decisions and make them fast.  It all added up to more than he could really put into words,  maybe more than even a poet could—something beyond the sum of it parts, something mysterious and ineffable and gorgeous to behold.  And he knew whom to thank for much of it.  Walking back to the Princeton Inn that evening with George Pocock, the two men holding their suit coats over their shoulders in the warm, humid twilight, Ulbrickson stopped suddenly, turned abruptly to Pocock, and extending his right hand.  “Thanks, George, for your help,” he said.  Pocock later remembered the moment: “Coming from Al,” he mused, “That was the equivalent of fireworks and a brass band.”  pp. 283-284
111. New York’s diversity:  They made their way through the throng, fascinated by the thousand voices of New York—Italian-speaking mothers and Spanish-speaking Puerto Rican boys, Yiddish-speaking grandfathers and Polish-speaking girls, giddy children calling out to one another in dozens of tongues and all varieties of English, their voices tinged with the inflections of the Bronx and Brooklyn and New Jersey.  p. 287
112. Exploring New York: As they explored New York, they began to come, one by one, to a new realization about how things stood for them.  In Time Square one afternoon, a tall, somewhat heavy man rushed up to Shorty, took a good look, and said, “You’re Shorty Hunt!’  He looked at the other boys.  “You fellows are the Washington crew, aren’t’ you?”  When they assured him they were, he gushed that he had recognized Shorty from a picture in the newspaper.  He was a former Columbia oarsman himself, he said, and after watching their recent exploits he had decided to send his son west for college so he too might become a great crewman.  It was the first time any of them really began to understand that they were now America’s crew, not the University of Washington’s—that the W on their jerseys was about to be replaced with “USA.”  For Joe, the moment of epiphany came on the eighty-sixth floor of the new Empire State Building.  None of the boys had ever ridden an elevator more than a few floors in a hotel, and the rapid ascent both thrilled and frightened them.  “Ears popped, eyes bulged,” Shorty Hunt wrote home breathlessly that night.  Joe had never flown in an airplane, never seen a city from any higher vantage point than that afforded by his own six-foot-three frame.  Now, standing on the observation deck, he looked out at the many spires of New York rising through a pall of smoke and steam and heat haze and did not know whether he found it beautiful or frightening.  He learned over the low stone parapet and peered down at miniature cars and buses and swarms of tiny people scurrying along the streets.  The city below him, Joe realized, murmured.  The cacophony of honking horns and wailing sirens and rumbling streetcars that had assaulted his ears at street level were reduced up here to something gentler and more soothing, like the sonorous breathing of an enormous living thing.  It was much bigger, more connected, world than he had ever thought possible.  He dropped a nickel in a telescope for a better view of the Brooklyn Bridge, then swept across Lower Manhattan and out to the distant Statue of Liberty.  In a few days, he would be sailing under her on his way to a place where as he understood it, liberty was not a given, where it seemed to be under some kind of assault.  The realization that was settling on all the boys settled on Joe.  They were now representative of something much larger than themselves—a way of life, a shared set of values.  Liberty was perhaps the most fundamental of those values.  But the things that held them together—trust in each other, mutual respect, humility, fair play, watching out for one another—those were also part of what American meant to all of them.  And right along with a passion for liberty, those were the things they were about to take to Berlin and lay before the world when they took to the water at Grunau.  pp. 288-289
113. Heat Wave:  By July 9, New York City was baking in the greatest heat wave in American history.  For a moth, unheard-of temperatures had been searing the West and Midwest.  Even the terrible summer of 1934 hadn’t been this bad.  Now the dome of heat extended from coast to coast and far north into Canada.  Three thousand Americans would die of the heat that week, forty of them in New York City.  p. 290
114. Pocock on muscle, hearts and minds as one (Ch 16): Good thoughts have much to do with good rowing.  It isn’t enough for the muscles of a crew to work in unison; their hearts and minds must also be as one.  p. 297
115. Pocock on harmony of heart and head (Ch. 17): 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.  P. 321
116. They come together:  Yet even as they fretted and fumed, something else was quietly at work among Ulbrickson’s boys.  As they began to see traces of tension and nervousness in one another, they began instinctively to draw close together.  They took to huddling on the float before and after workouts, talking about what, precisely, they could do to make each row better than the one before, looking one another in the eye, speaking earnestly.  Joking and horseplay fell by the wayside.  They began to grow serious in a way they had never been before.  Each of them knew that a defining moment in his life was nearly at hand; none wanted to waste it.  And none wanted to waste it for the others.  All along Joe Rantz had figured that he was the weak link in the crew. He’d been added to the boat last, he’d often struggled to master the technical side of the sport, and he still tended to row erratically.  But what Joe didn’t yet knew—what he wouldn’t, in fact, fully realize until much later, when he and the other boys were becoming old men—was that every boy in the boat felt exactly the same that summer.  Every one of them believed he was simply lucky to be rowing in the boat, that he didn’t really measure up to the obvious greatness of the other boys, and that he might fail the others at any moment.  Every one of them was fiercely determined not to let that happen.  Slowly, in those last few days, the boys—each in his own way—centered and clamed themselves.  Huddled on the dock, they draped arms over one another’s shoulders and talked through their race plan, speaking softly but with more assurance, accelerating their advance along the rough road from boyhood to manhood.   They quoted Pocock to one another.  Roger and Joe took walks along the shores of the Langer See, skipping stones, clearing their minds, Johnny White took some time to lie shirtless in the sun on the lawn in front of Haus West, working on a tan to complement his Pepsodent –white smile but also thinking through how he was going to row, Shorty Hunt wrote long letters home, purging his anxiety by leaving it behind on pieces of paper.  And finally the boat beneath them began to come to life again.  Rowing twice a day, they began to release what was latent in their bodies and to find their swing.  Everything began to fell right again, so long as Don Hume was in at stroke.  And Hume seemed to be key.  As soon as Hume returned, the tentativeness, awkwardness, and uncertainty they had felt when Ulbrickson had taken him out evaporated.  George Pocock had seen the difference at a glance.  They were back.  All they needed now, Pocock told them on August 10, was a little competition.  The next day a British reporter watching them warned readers back home that the boys for the Leander Club might just meet their match in the American crew: The Washington University [sic] eight is the finest eight here, and it is as perfect as a crew can be.”  pp. 326-327
117. Preliminary Race – Victory: Still, the British bow remained out in front of the American bow with 150 meters to go.  But the American boys had found their swing and they were holding on to it.  They were rowing as hard as they had ever rowed, taking huge sweeping cuts at the water, over and over again, rocking into the beat as if they were forged together, approaching forty strokes per minute.  Every muscle, tendon, and ligament in their bodies was burning with pain, but they were rowing beyond pain, rowing in perfect, flawless harmony.  Nothing was going to stop them.  In the last twenty strokes, and particularly in the final twelve gorgeous strokes, they simply powered past the British boat, decisively and unambiguously,  The twenty-five thousand international fans in the stands—a good portion of them Americans—rose and cheered them as their bow knifed across the line a full twenty feet ahead of the British shell.  A moment later, Don Hume pitched forward and collapsed across his oar.  It took Moch a full minute of splashing water on Hume’s face before he was able to sit upright again and help paddle the shell over to the float.  When they got there, though, the boys got sweet news.  Their time, 6:00.8, was a new course record.  And, sweeter yet, it was a new world and Olympic record, eclipsing California’s 1928 time of 6:03.02. When Al Ulbrickson arrived on the float, he crouched down next to the boat and, with a cryptic smile, quietly said, “Well done boys.”  Joe had never heard his coach speak in quite that tone of voice.  There seemed to be a hint of hushed respect in it.  Almost deference.  pp. 331-332
118. Nazi terror:  But there was a Germany the boys could not see, a Germany that was hidden from them, either by design or by time.  It wasn’t just that the signs—“Fur Juden verboten,” “Juden sind hier unerwunscht”—had been removed, or that the Gypsies had been rounded up and taken away, or that the vicious Sturmer newspaper had been withdrawn from the racks in the tobacco shops in Kopenick.  There were larger, darker, more enveloping secrets all around them.  They knew nothing of the tendrils of blood that had billowed in the waters of the river Spree and the Langer See in June of 1933, when SA storm troopers rounded up hundreds of Kopenick’s Jews, Social Democrats, and Catholic and tortured ninety-one of them to death—beating some until their kidneys ruptured or the skin split open, and then pouring hot tar into their wounds before dumping the mutilated bodies into the town’s tranquil waterways.  They could not see the sprawling Sachsenhausen concentration camp under construction that summer just north of Berlin, where before long more than two hundred thousand Jews, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Gypsies, and eventually Soviet prisoners of war, Polish civilians, and Czech university students would be held, and where tens of thousands of them would die.  And there was much more just over the horizon of time.  They could see the sprawling yellow clinker-brick complex of the AEG Kabelwerk factory just outside town, but they could not see the thousands of slave laborers that would soon be put to work there, manufacturing electric cables, laboring twelve hour a day, living in squalid camps nearby until they died of typhus or malnutrition,  When the boys walked past the pretty synagogue at 8 Freiheit, or “Freedom,” street, they could not see the mob with torches that would loot it and burn it to the ground on the night of November 9, 1938—Kristalnacht.  If they peered into Richard Hirschhahn’s clothing shop, they might have seen Richard and his wife, Hedwig, at work on sewing machines in the back of the shop as their daughters—eighteen-year-old Evan and nine-year-old Ruth—waited on customers up front.  The Hirschhahns were Jewish, members of the congregation on Freiheit street, and they were deeply concerned about how things were going in Germany.  But Richard had fought and been wounded in the Great War, and he did not think any harm would come to him or his family in the long run.  “I’ve bled for Germany.  Germany won’t let me down,” he like to tell his wife and daughters.  Still, Hedwig had returned recently from a trip to Wisconsin, and the Hirschhahns had begun to think about trying to move there.  They had, in fact, some American friends staying with them in Koopenick that week, in town to see the Olympics.  The boys might have peeked into the shop and seen all of them, but what they couldn’t have seen was the night when the SS men would come for Ruth, the littlest of them.  Ruth they would take to her death first, because she had asthma and was too weak to work.  The rest of the family they would leave in Kopenick to work as slaves—Eva in Siemens munition factory, her parents in a sweatshop, manufacturing German military uniforms—until it was time to come back for them too, in March 1943.  Then the SS men would put Richard and Hedwig on a train to Auschwitz.  Eva would evade them, escape into Berlin, hide there, and miraculously survive the war.   But she would be the only one, the rarest of exceptions.  Like the Hirschhahns, many of the Kopenickers the boys passed on the street that afternoon were doomed: people who waited on the boys in shops, old women strolling around the castle grounds, mothers pushing baby carriages on cobblestone streets, children shrieking gleefully on playgrounds, old men walking dogs—loved and loving and destined for cattle cars and death.  pp. 333-334
119. Sperm whale oil advantage:  George Pocock, meanwhile, began applying a coat of sperm whale oil to the underside of the Husky Clipper. p. 337
120. Why eight-oared race is #1:  As the final and most prestigious event of the day—the eight-oared race—grew near, the crowd began to grow noisy once more.  This was the rowing even that nations boasted about more than any other, the ultimate test of young men’s ability to pull together, the greatest display of power, grace, and guts on water.  p. 338
121. Pocock on the champion’s reserve of power – Ch. 18:  Men as fit as you, when your everyday strength is gone, can draw on a mysterious reservoir of power far greater.  Then it is that you can reach for the stars.  That is the way champions are made.
122. The final, the Olympic, victory: Two seats in front of him, Bobby Mock was still desperately trying to figure out what to do.  Hume still wasn’t responding, and as they approached the twelve-hundred-meter mark, the situation was becoming critical.  The only option Mock had left, the only thing he could think of, was to hand the stroke off to Joe.  It would be a dangerous move—unheard of really—more likely than not to confuse everyone with an oar in his hand, to throw the rhythm of the boat into utter chaos.  But Moch had lost his ability to regulate the pace of his boat, and that spelled certain doom.  If he could get Joe to set the rhythm, maybe Hume would sense the change and pick it up.  At any rate, he had to do something, and he had to do it now.  As Moch leaned forward to tell Joe to set the stroke and raise the rate, Don Hume’s head snapped up, his eyes popped open, he clamped his mouth shut, and then looked Bobby Moch straight in the eyes.  Moch, started, locked eyes with him and yelled, “Pick’er up! Pick’er up!”  Hume picked up the pace.  Moch yelled again, “One length to make up—six hundred meters!”  The boys leaned into their oars.  The stroke rate jumped to thirty-six, the thirty-seven.  By the time the field charged past the fifteen-hundred-meter mark, the Husky Clipper had eased from fifth to third place.  On the shell house balcony, down the course, Al Ulbrickson’s hopes silently soared when he saw the boat move, but the move seemed to peter out with the boys still well short of the lead.  With five hundred meters to go, there were still nearly a full length behind Germany and Italy, over in lanes one and two.  The Swiss and the Hungarians were fading badly  The British were coming back, but once again Ran Laurie, with his narrow-bladed oar, was having a difficult time getting enough of a catch to help power his shell through the wind and waves.  Moch commanded Hume to take the beat up another notch.  Across the way, Wilhelm Mahlow, the cox in the German boat, told Gerd Vols, his stroke the same thing.  Thirty-year-old Cesare Milani in the Italian boat shouted the same directive to his stroke, Enrico Garzelli.  Italy crept a few feet farther ahead of the field.  As the Langer See narrowed down into the home stretch, the Husky Clipper at last entered water that was more sheltered from the wind, protected on both sides by tall trees and buildings.  The game was on now.  Bobby Moch eased the rudder back parallel with the hull of the boat and the Clipper finally began to run free.  With the playing field more even, and Don Hume back among the living, the boys suddenly started to move again at 350 meters, reeling the leaders in seat by seat.  With 300 meters to go, the bow of the American boat pulled roughly even with the German and Italian bows.  Approaching the final 200 meters, the boys pulled ahead by a third of a length.  A ripple of apprehension shuddered through the crowd.  Bobby Moch glanced up at the huge black-and-white “Ziel” sign at the finish.  He began to calculate just what he needed to get out of the boys to make sure he got there ahead of the boats off to his left, it was time to start lying.  Mock barked, “Twenty more strokes!”  He started counting them down, “Nineteen, eighteen, seventeen, sixteen fifteen . . . Twenty, nineteen . . .”  Each time he hit fifteen he reset back to twenty.  In a daze, believing they were finally bearing down on the line, the boys threw their long bodies into each stroe, rowing furiously, flawlessly, and with uncanny elegance.  Their oars smoothly , efficiently, the shell’s whale-oil-slick hull ghosting forward between pulls, its sharp cedar prow slicing through dark water, boat and men forged together, bounding fiercely forward like a living thing.  The they rowed into a world of confusion.  They were in full-sprint mode, ratcheting the stroke rate up toward forty, when they hit a wall of sound.  They were suddenly right up alongside the enormous wooden bleachers on the north side of the course, not more than ten feet from thousands of spectators screaming in unison, “Deutsch-land! Deutsch-land!” Deutsch-land!”  The sound of it cascaded down on them, reverberated from one shore to the other, and utterly drowned out Bobby Moch’s voice.  Even Don Hume, sitting just eighteen inches in front of him, couldn’t make out what Mock was shouting.  The noise assaulted them, bewildered them.  Across the way, the Italian boat began another surge.  So did the German boat, both rowing at over forty now.  Both clawed their way back to even with the American boat.  Bobby Moch saw them and screamed into Hume’s face, “Higher! Higher!  Give her all you’ve got!”  Nobody could hear him.  Stub McMillin didn’t know what was happening, but he didn’t like whatever it was.  He flung the F word into the wind.  Joe didn’t know what was happening either, except that he hurt as he’d never hurt in a boat before—hot knives slipped into the sinews of his arms and legs and sliced across his broad back with each stroke; every desperate breath seared his lungs.  He fixed his eyes on the back of Hume’s neck and focused his mine on the simple, cruel necessity of taking the next stroke.  On the balcony of Haus West, Hitler dropped his binoculars to his side.  He continued to rock back and forth with the chanting of the crowd, rubbing his right knee each time he leaned forward.  Goebels held his hands over his head applauding wildly.  Goring began thumping Werner von Bomberg’s back.  On the balcony next door, Al Ulbrickson, the Deadpan Kid, stood motionless, expressionless, a cigarette in his mouth.  He fully expected to see Don Hume pitch forward over his oar at any moment.  NBC’s Bill Slater was screaming over KOMO’s airwaves in Seattle.  Harry and Joyce and the kids couldn’t make out what was happening, but they were all on their feet.  They thought maybe the boys were ahead.  Moch glanced left, saw the German and Italian boats surging again, and knew that somehow the boys had to go even higher, give even more than they were giving, even as he knew they were already giving everything they had.  He could see it in their faces—in Joe's contorted grimace, in Don Hume’s wide-open, astonished eyes, eyes that seemed to stare past him into some unfathomable void.  He grabbed the wooden knockers on the tiller lines and began to bang them against the ironbark knocker-boards fastened to either side of the hull.  Even if the boys couldn’t hear it, maybe they could feel the vibrations.  They did. And immediately understood it for what it was—a signal that they needed to do what was impossible, to go even higher.  Somewhere, deep down inside, each of them grasped at shreds of will and strength they did not know they possessed.  Their hearts were pumping at nearly two hundred beats per minute now.  They were utterly beyond exhaustion, beyond what their bodies should be able to endure.  The slightest miscue by any one of them would mean catching a crab, and catastrophe.  In the gray gloom below the grandstands full of screaming faces, their white blades flickered in and out of the water.  It was neck and neck now.  On the balcony, Al Ulbrickson bit the cigarette in his mouth in half, spat it out, jumped onto a chair, and began to bellow at Moch: “Now! Now! Now!” Somewhere a voice squealed hysterically on a loudspeaker, “Italien! Deutschland! Italien! Achh . . . Amerika! Italien!”  The three boats stormed toward the finish line, the lead going back and forth.  Moch pounded on the ironwood as hard and as fast as he could, the snap-snap-snap of the firing almost like a machine gun in the stern of the boat.  Hume took the beat higher and higher until the boys hit forty-five.  They had never rowed this high before—never even conceived of it as possible.  They edged narrowly ahead, but the Italians began to close again.  The Germans were right beside them.  “Deutsch-land! Deutsch-land! Deutsch-land!” Thundered in the boys’ ears.  Bobby Moch sat astride the stern, hunched forward, pounding the wood, screaming words no one could hear.  The boys took on last mighty stroke and hurled the boat across the line.  In a span of a single second, the German, Italian, and American boats all crossed the line.  On the balcony Hitler raised a clenched fist shoulder high.  Goebbels leapt up and down.  Hermann Goring slapped his knee again, a maniacal grin on his face.  In the American boat, Don Hume bowed his head as if in prayer.  In the German boat, Gerd Vols toppled backward into the lap of the number seven man, Herbert Schmidt, who had raised a triumphant fist high over his head.  In the Italian boat, somebody leaned forward and vomited overboard.  The crowd continued to roar, “Deutsch-land! Deutsch-land! Deutsch-land!”  Nobody knew who had won.  The American boat drifted on down the lake, beyond the grandstands, into a quieter world, the boys leaning over their oars, gasping for breath, their faces still shattered by pain.  Shorty Hunt realized he couldn’t get his eyes to track.  Someone whispered, “Who won?”  Roger Morris croaked, “Well . . . we did . . . I think.”  Finally the loudspeakers crackled back to life with the official results.  The bow of the American boat had touched the line at 6:25.4, six-tenths of a second ahead of the Italian boat, exactly a second ahead of the German boat.  The chanting of the crowd faded suddenly, as if turned off by a spigot.  On the balcony of Haus West, Hitler turned and strode back into the building, unspeaking.  Goebbels and Goring and the rest of the Nazi officials scurried in behind him.  In the American boat, it took a moment for the boys to understand the German announcement.  But when they did, their grimaces of pain turned suddenly to broad white smiles, smiles that decades later would flicker across old newsreels, illuminating the greatest moment of their lives.  pp. 348-351
123. Pocock on the crew as a whole (Ch. 19):  Where is the spiritual value of rowing? . . . The losing of self entirely to the cooperative effort of the crew as a whole. p. 353
124. Ulbrickson on his crew:  This time Ulbrickson found his voice.  They were, he said unambiguously, “the finest I ever saw seated in a shell.  And I’ve seen some corking boatloads.”  p. 354
125. What Joe realized at last:  Immediately after the race, even as he sat gasping for air in the Husky Clipper while it drifted down the Langer See beyond the finish line, an expansive sense of calm had enveloped him.  In the last desperate few hundred meters of the race, in the searing pain and bewildering noise of hat final furious sprint, there had come a singular moment when Joe realized with startling clarity that there was nothing more he could do to win the race, beyond what he was already doing.  Except for one thing.  He could finally abandon all doubt, trust absolutely without reservation that he and the boy in front of him and the boys behind him would all do precisely what they need to do at precisely the instant they needed to do it.  He had known in that instant that there could be no hesitating, no shred of indecision.  He had had no choice but to throw himself into each stroke as if he were throwing himself off of a cliff into a void, with unquestioned faith that the others would be there to save him from catching the whole weight of the shell on his blade.  And he had done it.  Over and Over, forty-four times per minute, he had hurled himself blindly into his future, not just believing but knowing that the other boys would be there for him, all of them moment by precious moment.  In the white-hot emotional furnace of those final meters at Grunau, Joe and the boys had finally forged the prize they had sought all season, the prize Joe had sought nearly all his life.  Now he felt whole, He was ready to go home.  p. 355
126. Pocock on the things that last (Epilogue): 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.  p. 357
127. The cost of victory:  Poughkeepsie [national championship] was the last race for Roger Morris, Shorty Hunt, and Joe Rantz.  By Royal Brougham’s calculations, done that night on a bar napkin, in four years of college rowing, each of them had rowed approximately 4,344 miles, far enough to take him from Seattle to Japan.  Along the way, each had taken roughly 469,000 strokes with his oar, all in preparation for only 28 miles of actual collegiate racing.  In those four years, and over the course of those 28 miles, the three of them—Joe, Shorty, and Roger—had never once been defeated.  p. 359
128. Last years in cedar wood:  In his later years, after he retired from Boeing, Joe immersed himself in his old passion of working with cedar.  He hiked deep into the northwest woods, climbed up steep mountain inclines, and scrambled over jumbles of fallen trees, hauling with him a chainsaw, a peavey, a splitting maul, and assorted iron wedges jammed into his pockets, in search of salvageable wood.  He wrestle the logs down from the mountains and brought them back to his workshop where he crafted them by hand into shakes and posts and rails and other useful items, and established a small and successful business fulfilling order for his cedar products.  As he moved into his ninth decade, his daughter Judy, and occasionally other family members, went along with him to lend a hand, and to watch out for him.  pp. 361-362
129. The heralds of Hitler’s doom:  Standing there, watching them, it occurred to me that when Hitler watched Joe and the boys fight their way back from the rear of the field to sweep ahead of Italy and Germany seventy-five years ago, he saw, but did not recognize, heralds of his doom  He could not have known that one day hundreds of thousands of boys just like them, boys who shared their essential natures—decent and unassuming, not privileged or favored by anything particular, just loyal, committed, and perseverant—would return to Germany dressed in olive drab, hunting him down.  p. 368
America: America’s Crew – 112, America – 112, Shared Values – 112
Arête: 40, 42, 96, 109, 110, 117
Art: The Goal – 36, 45, 53, Artist at work – 56, Joe like art – 61, Poetry in motion – 62, 82, 128
Bears: 23
Beauty: 11, 16, 53, 61, 82
The Boat: The boys that make it – 42, The team – 95, 110, 123, Trust the boat – 125, Quality of the 1936 U. S. Crew – 97A
The Boys: 42, Stub McMillin – 59, Joe’s beauty – 61, Jonny White, all American Boy – 74, Jonny White – 75, Jonny White, his father and his boat – 76, Chuck Day, competition – 77, Stub McMillin – 83, Bobby Moch- 90, Bobby Moch’s Brain, Determination, Chosen last for boyhood teams, School Work, Leadership - 90,  Gordy Adam – 93, Don Hume - 93
Books: 55, 103
Boat Building: Who built it? – 15, 16, Building the shell – 56, 82
Campfire: 78
Champion’s reserve of power: 121
Charlie McDonald: 28, 53, Dead – 87
Character: 42, 69
Climate Change: 49, 71, 113
Coaching: 5, 6, 10, 31, 38, 81, 85, 91, 96, 105, Tom Bolles – 108,  107, 117, 124
Competition: 77 
Coxswain: 67, 90
Crested Wheat Grass: Search for – 49
Deceit: 122
Delos: 97
Depression: 3, 24, 26, 50, 51, 74, 93
Difference: All rowing jobs different – 39
Diversity: 68, 68
Doing Hard Things Makes You Strong: Doing your best – 15, 28, 37
Dust Bowl: 33, 49, 65
East – v – west: 47
Eight Oared Race, #1: 120
Endurance: 31
Failure: Unacceptable – 59
Faith: 125
Father: 8
Flying: 95
Freedom: 64
Friendship: 83, Necessary – 91, 100, 116
Giving more than you have: 122
George Pocock: 15, 81, Helping Joe – 82, Speaks to Joe – 84, Pocock to Joe – 91, Thanks to him – 110
George Pocock’s Wise Sayings: Pocock on the Beauty of the Sport (Prolog) – 1, Pocock on unseen values (Ch 1) – 2, Pocock on the growing of trees (Ch. 2) – 7, Pocock on coaching, teaching, learning (Ch 3) – 10, Georg Pocock on overcoming resistance makes you stronger. (Ch. 4) – 22, Georg Pocock on endurance- no time outs (Ch.5) – 31, Georg Pocock on his goal to be a first-class artisan (Ch. 6) – 35 Georg Pocock on rowing with the head (Ch. 7) – 45, Pocock on harmony between shell and crew (Ch. 8) – 52, Pocock on harmony between shell and crew (Ch. 8) – 57, Pocock on free – it’s got to be (Ch. 10) – 64, Pocock on what an oar’s man feels (Ch. 11) – 70, Pocock—Be part of the boat (Ch. 12) – 79, Pocock on Rhythm – Swing (Ch. 13) – 88, Pocock on Championship caliber of 1936 U. S. team (Ch. 14) – 98A, Pocock on swing = success = 4th dimension (Ch. 15)106,  Pocock on muscle, hearts and minds as one (Ch 16) – 114, Pocock on harmony of heart and head (Ch. 17) – 115, Pocock on the champion’s reserve of power – Ch. 18 – 121, Pocock on the crew as a whole (Ch. 19) – 123, Pocock on the things that last (Epilogue) - 126
Golf on a Log: 20
Gymnastics: 29
Hard times: 50
Hard Work: To build strength – 76, In the cold – 86
Hard Things: Problems make you strong – 22, Good for You – 67, Work (cleansing) – 73, 85
Harmony: 52, 91, Harmony, balance, and rhythm – 126
History: Depression – 3, Depression – 24, Depression – 26, Dust Bowl – 33, Climate change – 35, Climate change – 49, Dust storm – 49, Depression – 50, Depression – 51, Dust Bowl – 65, Passivism – 66, Climate change – 71, Depression – 75, New York Diversity – 111, Climate Change – 113
Hitler’s Doom: 129
Humility: 96, 116
Individuality: 60, Crew is not – 67, Good – 68
Joe Rantz: Gets up – 25, Grows strong – 27, Joe’s Beauty – 61, Gets a job at Grand Coulee – 72, Jackhammer job – 72, Joe’s job – 73, Joe’s chance – 94, Gives his all – 125
Learning: 10
Liberty: 112
Luck: 108
Magic Feelings: 70
Mother: Boys need – 84
Muscles: 12
Nazi Atrocities: 80, 118
Opportunities: 2, 9, Impediments – 42, Cedars no one wants – 53
Own Way: 25
Pain: 11, 12, 13, Joe knew how to hurt – 21, 44, 48, Pain = Beauty – 67, 104, Beyond pain – 117, 122
Paradox: Crew – 67
Passivism: 66
Price Collapse: 24
Psychology: 68
Pulling your weight: 57
Race described: Described – 44, Freshman victory – 48, The end – 104, Victory over Cal – 109, Victory over Briton – 117, Olympic victory – 122
Reading: Pocock well read – 55
Record Time: 117
Religion: 82
Resistance: Overcoming – 22
Resources: Using good – 51
Reserve of Power: 63
Roosevelt: Grand Coulee Dam – 51, His house – 103
Rowing: 12, 13, 17, 39, Key factors – 40, 64, Why? – 84, Why Joe Rowed – 85, Right – 109
Rhythm: 88 
Scent: 30, 53
School Work: 99, 101
Scouting: 2, Staff more important than Director – 39, Rowers like a Camp Staff – 39, Campfire and wilderness adventure – 78, Singing – 91, Picking a Staff or crew – 96, Singing – 100
Shirtless: 78, 108, 116
Singing – 92, 100
Smoking: “Good” for you – 4
Socialism: 50
Sperm Whale Oil: 119, 122
Sports: 53
Stars: 8, In the stars – 91, Among the stars – 91, 102, Race for the stars – 121
Strategy: 40, Misdirection – 43, 46, 98
Struggle: Of life makes us strong – 82
Success: 106
Swing: 62, 63, 98
Synergy: 28
Teaching: 2, 9, 10, 53, Teacher – 87
Team Building: 6, 14, 18, 34, Make up – 68, Make up – 69, 79, 81, 82, 85, 89, Trust – 91, 110
Team Work: 28, 41, 60, 62, 73, 82, Like a symphony – 91, The boat – 93, Team Work – 95, 96, 102, 110, 116
Tears of Joy: 34
Technique: Catching a Crab – 19, 20, 39, Balancing act – 40, 45, 67
Training: Rules – 5, 54
Trees: 7, 28, 53, Rings – 82, 128
Tools: 56, 82
Trophies: 44
Ulbrickson: 5, Like Ahab – 58, 104, 123
Unseen Force: 56
Values: Unseen – 2, Unlikely places – 9, American values win the war – 129
Victory: Winning – 46,  Final Olympic – 122, The cost – 127
Weak: Leave – 14, 18, 21, 32, 37
Wood: 28, 53, Reading the wood – 53, 56, 82, 128
Work: Working for money to pay for school – 53, To pay for college – 83, Earning money for school – 93
Daniel James Brown
The Boys in the Boat
New York
Penguin Group


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