'When you get the rhythm in an eight, it's pure pleasure to be in it.' (George Yeoman Pocock quoted in 'The Boys in the Boat'* by Daniel James Brown).
Daniel Brown's book invokes the 'crew spirit' of young men at Washington University during the Great Depression, charting the journey of those rowing in the US VIII which won Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Monkton's Ran Laurie stroked the GB VIII at the same notorious Games and features in this Newsletter as the second member, chronologically speaking, of our MCSBC 1st XI. Reading about Monkton's rowing Olympians, spanning eight decades, we remember where all of them first learnt how to make an VIII go fast and we can share a sense of pride in what they achieved.
Through the decades there is a sense of Monktonian rowers having a special loyalty towards one another. So many who learn a sport at school drop it the moment they leave, but rowing has often benefited from those who want to give back something in later life of what they learned earlier on, and that is at the core of our Bluefriars purpose and support.
We are very happy to learn that Monkton will soon have two new VIIIs on the racks at Saltford and we hope that the crews that train and race in the boats will be successful. Whilst rowing and sculling in all categories of boat is highly enjoyable, there is certainly something special about an eight that 'clicks' ÔŽ as the quotation above suggests. Few of us forget the first time that we raced in a 'proper' racing shell and experienced the sheer magic of moving in unison, steered and encouraged by a cox whom we trusted absolutely. These were the beginnings from which so many Monktonians of the past have graduated to greater things. Many Bluefriars remember the 'crew spirit' which carried them through a whole season or more and which we still witness when they come together again, perhaps many years later.
We hope that, from the next generation of Monkton rowers, 'crew spirit' will live on in the same way that it has for decades past. GWB/JMB
* 'The Boys in the Boat' is highly recommended as an enthralling read.