I’m so excited about gathering in person this week in the coolest venue. The ASUW Shell House is the historic “Boys in the Boat” crew house and home of the 1936 Olympic gold medal rowing team.
It is located at the University of Washington along the Montlake Cut. It’s the perfect place to meet considering the timely celebration of Seattle’s traditional Opening Day of Boating and it couldn’t be a more fitting location for The Anchor to meet for the first time since the pandemic. The place holds some very special memories for me and provides a meaningful analogy for The Anchor and our mission.
Rowing on the UW crew team. (I’m the one on the far left)
I rowed on the Husky crew team at the University of Washington my freshman and sophomore years. I was recruited from my high school cross country team. They reached out to athletes 5’ 8” or taller and I fit the bill and was up for the challenge. This was my first introduction to the sport of rowing, and I fell in love with it. I learned to pull the oar and found it to be an incredible workout, engaging every muscle. The sport involves strength and technique.
The key to success was to learn to pull together and match each stroke in sync with the others. The coxswain’s voice yelling “Power Ten in two!” is forever imbedded in my mind. We would pull as hard as we could for ten strokes placing our oars purposefully and powerfully into the water. We skimmed through the water in unison, our rhythm and strength sure to bring victory. The thrill of cutting through the rippling waters of Lake Washington was a rush of exhilaration. The camaraderie and friendships amongst our teammates was truly a highlight.
I experienced teamwork at its best — pulling my hardest and giving it my all — and found that as each one of our teammates put forth their best effort, we were better together.
Rowing through the Montlake Cut on Opening Boating Day
During my two years of rowing at UW, I became familiar with the ASUW Shell House. It was my stomping grounds during those days on the crew team. The shells (boats) were housed in these buildings.
A few years ago, I read The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown which is about the 1936 Olympic gold medal crew team that trained out of this very place. The book highlights the life of one young man named Joe Rantz and his teammates and the incredible story of how they worked together against many odds to win the gold medal in the 1936 Olympics. I loved reading the stories and could envision every place mentioned — all familiar places. It took me back to my rowing days.
A very memorable experience happened while reading this book. While on a car trip home from Banff and Lake Louise I decided to read it aloud to my family to pass the time on the long drive home (12 hours to be exact!!). The craziest thing happened, and the story truly began to come alive with each word I read aloud.
As I narrated the fascinating facts of this true story, we passed the very landmarks mentioned in the book. We passed the Kootenai River and Bonners Ferry Landing. The timing of my reading was SO exact; the story caught my attention and took on even greater meaning. There are so many messages within this story.
One stood out among the rest and that was the message of the importance of friendship.
The boys in the boat have the race of their life and win the gold medal because of their care and concern and love for one another. They were there for each other working their hardest, not wanting to let their fellow teammates down. They were “BETTER TOGETHER” and pulled their way to victory.
My UW crew teammates (I’m fourth over from the right)
This book made a big impact on me. I have pondered the analogy of this story and how it relates to The Anchor. We need each other and friendships to pull us through life and whatever it brings. The Anchor is all about being anchored in friendships old and new to help in our walk through life as we encourage each other along the way.
Our greatest desire at The Anchor is to help introduce women to the ultimate friendship: one with Jesus Christ.
Asking Him to come aboard your life journey ensures a true victory no matter what the circumstances. He will pull you through the darkest and hardest of times and the smooth and calm waters all the way to Heaven, the great finish.
I hope to see you this Thursday at our in-person gathering or online for our livestream to share in the celebration of The Anchor and the good news that we are BETTER TOGETHER and we can pull through this life to victory with Jesus and each other!