Sunday, August 24, 2014

Don't rock this boat

This is the story of nine men who were members of the University of Washington crew team. It shows the hard work the men went through to make the team and their goal to qualify for the 1936 Olympic team and win the gold medal.

The story is well research and follows one of the men in detail. Joe Rantz was a hard working young man from a poor family who had to work to help support his family at a young age while continuing his studies.

He meets Joyce Sanders and realizes that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. Joe's mother died young and his father remarried. His stepmother never demonstrated any love for Joe. She'd give all of her love and attention to the three children she gave birth to. Joe even had to deal with abandonment at a young age.

His hard work is recognized and he's invited to attend the University of Washington and try out for the crew team. At that time during the depression, there wasn't any athletic scholarships but part time work was made available for crew members so they could pay for their expenses.

As Joe and his crew mates are moulded into a championship team, depression held the country at bay. Jobs were difficult to get and the dust bowl was a term for the terrible wind storms that blew topsoil away and caused many farmers to go bankrupt.

In Germany, Hitler is rising to power and Dr. Joseph Gobbles was made the minister of propaganda. Both men hated Jews and unleashed a program to wipe out the Jewish population from Germany.

This is a story of sports, determination and a hope of something many shared during the dark days of the depression.

The crew travels to Germany and experiences the anti-Jewish tone and the intense pro Nazi feelings. It made them more determined to beat the German crew and win the Olympic medal for the United States.

I enjoyed reading the story and seeing the progress of the team and how that fit into the events of the time from 1932 to 1936. There are parts of the story that I will remember for a long time.

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