* Disclaimer this review is lengthy, but the book is so worth the quick review!!*
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, was such an AMAZING book. I came across the book on one of my class reading materials for this semester. At first, I thought “Okay, This is interesting. I’m not really into the sport of rowing.” Then as we looked more into the book, my interest was sparked when I learned that it was focused on the lives of the Washington Rowing team and their journey to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. I am a bit of a history nerd, so I was really excited when we began reading the book. I fell absolutely in love with the book as I was sucked into the story. There are so many lessons and themes in the book that it definitely gives you a new outlook in life.
The story is told from the point of view of Joe Rantz. Joe had a rough life, yet he was the definition of perseverance. No mater what trials Joe was faced with, he worked hard to finally find his place in the world. He had to become self reliant at a young age. In order for him to achieve his goals, he could only depend on himself to get him there. It kind of symbolizes that during the darkest time there will be the light at the end of the tunnel. America was going through a rough time and the people needed something good to lift up their spirits. The rowing team going to the Olympics symbolizes that having faith, hard work and dedication will help you get through those hard times.
The demands of rowing impacted both the boys’ academic and personal lives because it made them push above and beyond their limits. It made them see that rowing in a way was more than just a sport. They had to learn how to balance out the many aspects of their personal lives but maintain the level of mentality to perform well when it came to rowing. Their personal lives influenced their approach to rowing because they had to go through many trials of not only knowing who they were individually but also as a collective group. The boy’s learned the importance of putting their trust in others and how they needed to work together. They learned that going through the trials together is much more helpful and enjoyable because they could feed off of each other. They had to learn how to invest everything they had into every aspect of their lives.
One of the lessons I feel the characters in the book have learned that I hadn’t noticed at first but can use in my journey of education, was that they needed to have faith in themselves. They learned to have faith in the abilities they had to grow and develop into the people they were meant to be. I think learning of your potential and what you have to offer the world is fairly important and definitely a lesson that all of the characters have learned in their own ways. It’s quite interesting how the sport of rowing was able to help such a large group of people find who they are as individuals yet it takes group effort. A lesson that the characters learned that just spoke to me was that often times they were pushed so far out of their comfort zone to get to the end result they wanted. Some of the trials pushed them so far physically and mentally that it almost seemed that they were at their breaking point. The way I see it is, sometimes you have to be broken down so much, to be rebuilt to reaching that potential you have as a person. The trials we face are only here to strengthen us and to make us better. There are so many little lessons that have made an impression on me, but the last major lesson I learned from the characters in the book was the equation of success; Hard work + dedication + motivation + resilience = an end goal. The road to success or to achieve your goals is not an easy one, but with the contribution of each of these attributes it makes the journey worthwhile.
In reading this book I have learned that I am a lot like Joe Rantz, in the sense that I have a hard time asking for help and often get stuck in the habit of relying solely on myself. I could relate to Joe and how skeptical he was when it came to letting people in because of that feeling of being abandoned and left behind. Having to restart the process of getting to know people and having them walk out of your life is tiring. It affects us mentally because we start to feel unwanted and just another burden to others. My ultimate career goal is to become a Sports Lawyer, often times I do get discouraged because I feel that my goal is so out there and that I can’t possibly achieve it. With reading this book the example these guys set helped me so much, they did not let anything get in their way of making it to the Olympics. I feel that if I can keep my “mind in the boat” as they did, I’ll be able to achieve anything I set my mind to.
Honestly I’m so happy that we read this book because I love history and this is such a good book that tells of the dark times that happened in not only the US but in Germany. There were so many lessons to be learned and stories that needed to be told. I’m just in awe and amazed at the poise and confidence that these boys had to perform on such a global platform and prove to the world that they were just as good as the professional and more experienced teams. In a way this book has broaden my horizons in the way I think of my goals and how I approach them. Would I recommend this book? Most definitely because this story and it’s lessons need to be heard. I’m sure someone will read this book and get something out of it that I may have missed, but it’d be something they may have needed to hear. Just like I needed a reminder that I can achieve everything I set my mind to, for someone else it will be something different but something they can benefit from. This book is too good not to share with others. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book just as much as I did, if not even more. There’s literally something in this book for everyone that reads it.