Crew was always imperfect; no matter how good your crew, you were bound to lose, if not a race then the ephemeral feeling of swing, when a boat was moving perfectly. Because currents, tides, and winds made times largely meaningless, it was a sport in which records had no value. A runner might know that he had bettered a time of those who went before him. The oarsmen in a boat that had won every race would always wonder if his boat was better than one that was comparably victorious six years earlier. The only clue that his boat was probably faster came from other sports, for swimmers and runners were systematically improving on the records set by their predecessors. But there was no empirical evidence. Therefore, humility became part of the code: You did not boast of what you would do or had done, nor did you embarrass a loser. Because your adversaries had subjected themselves to virtually the same regimen that you did, you respected them as much as you respected yourself.

David Halberstam "The Amateurs"



Image via // Jenifer Forbes Photography

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