This book doesn’t even contain the word yoga. The subject matter has nothing to do with yoga – and yet, in a way, it has.
It’s a wonderful, true, feel-good story, great for summer reading because much of it takes place on the water – in racing shells. It’s about a come-from-behind bunch of poor young men from the state of Washington at the end of the Great Depression. First, each one struggled but managed to get into university and stay there despite the cost, and then each made – and stayed – on the highly competitive 8-oar rowing team, one of the most difficult, popular and closely followed sports of the time.
Not only did they consistently beat their California rivals, but for three years, they travelled east and, to the total surprise of the sports world, they also beat the well-heeled Eastern teams, eventually achieving their goal of representing the U.S. at the Olympics. It’s a well-told story about determination and strength of character. I was so excited by the end, I couldn’t go to sleep, and now, a week after finishing the book, I’m still missing its people.
How is it related to yoga? Just peripherally, really. But the activity of rowing, especially as a team member, seems to require a similar going-inside-of-oneself so as to recognize and let go of those pesky samskaras that stop us from moving forward. I thought the author kept describing with great sensitivity this continual search for the deeper connection with oneself. And I thought probably he was a rower himself – or maybe a yogi.
By the way, Netflix has a good documentary about the team, and The Weinstein Company has bought the movie rights.