From My Bookshelf: The Boys in the Boat

Admittedly, my stamina for reading took a bit of a hit this week. I found myself surfing on the web more and even dozing off before finishing reading a page in a book. Perhaps it was because of our topsy-turvy spring weather and a bit of spring fever? Or spring allergies? Perhaps it was my worry over my daughter struggling with serious side effects of her chemotherapy for metastatic osteosarcoma? Or perhaps it was the time and energy it took to work on downsizing and running items to friends and thrift shops?

No matter, I’m half way through reading The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. An easy read (for me at least, as not many people know that I used to row myself in a single scull) about the University of Washington crew teams putting Seattle on the map by winning races in the east, an area with a long elite heritage of rowing, and ultimately winning the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Rowing in crew requires making 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 increase.” And not only that, crew as a “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.” (p. 178-179). 

Just like adults experiencing slumps in reading (or rowing), we must acknowledge our kiddos have slumps too. In fact, dips in reading stamina can be a good topic for restorative circles…why does it happen and how do we get out of it? How do we show patience and empathy toward our students in schools? And support for them to get back on track?

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