Barry S. Strauss

Eakins rejected gentlemen athletics as his theme. Instead, he took a subject that had been the stuff of illustrated weeklies and the penny press and turned it into fine art. Eakins celebrates not fire from heaven but honest sweat, not genius but hard work.

“Eakins rejected gentlemen athletics as his theme. Instead, he took a subject that had been the stuff of illustrated weeklies and the penny press and … Read More

It’s the quintessential Greek sport: harmonious, competitive, agonizing, nautical, and above all, intelligent. It combines Odysseus’s brains and brawn and love of the sea with the tactical precision of the Spartan pikeman.

“It’s the quintessential Greek sport: harmonious, competitive, agonizing, nautical, and above all, intelligent. It combines Odysseus’s brains and brawn and love of the sea with … Read More

The feel of a good row stays with you hours afterward. Your muscles glow, your mind wanders from the papers on you desk and goes back, again and again, to that terrific power piece at the end of the workout when it felt as if you and the boat were flying, as if you legs were two cannons and your arms were two oars and the great lateral muscles of your back were pterodactyl wings and the brim of your baseball cap was a harpoon.

“The feel of a good row stays with you hours afterward. Your muscles glow, your mind wanders from the papers on you desk and goes … Read More

The Greek in me wanted to know what it felt like to pull an oar. The intellectual wondered about how to get eight individuals to move to the same beat. The athlete wanted to check what has been described as the ultimate workout. The romantic craved seeing if the quirkiness of the sport – there is after all, little practical value to oarsmanship in the postindustrial age – stirred his blood.

“The Greek in me wanted to know what it felt like to pull an oar. The intellectual wondered about how to get eight individuals to … Read More

When you are rowing well and hard, the rhythm of the stroke takes over. It drives your days and restores your nights. It imparts cadence and direction. You feel like you and the boats are one, you feel that no obstacle will put up any more resistance than the water does to your oars, you feel that hard work and grit and mental toughness will always win it for you in the end.

“When you are rowing well and hard, the rhythm of the stroke takes over. It drives your days and restores your nights. It imparts cadence … Read More

Think of aerobics plus weight lifting minus the music or camaraderie. Combine unalloyed endurance with straightforward strength and demand poise, timing, and practiced form as well. Think of pure pain: that’s the ergometer.

“Think of aerobics plus weight lifting minus the music or camaraderie. Combine unalloyed endurance with straightforward strength and demand poise, timing, and practiced form as … Read More

The rower need to know technique and has to be in shape. He won’t wrong by using strategy. Yet what it takes to win races is the ability to reach inside and pull out something to keep you going – no, to go faster – when you have nothing left to give. There’s a word for what that takes and the word is not magic, the word is guts.

“The rower need to know technique and has to be in shape. He won’t wrong by using strategy. Yet what it takes to win races … Read More