Strokes of Beauty and Beastly Effort

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The power and endurance required to create the beauty of a boat gliding with seeming ease down a river or across a lake holds a special place in my heart. In all things athletic, and in life, the ability to make something so difficult seem effortless is the purest achievement.

Standing on a distant shore watching crews stroke past revealed only the beauty. From a boat or standing on the dam at Wyandotte County Lake as Laura and I were last Saturday morning, we could see and hear the beastly effort needed to create such beauty.

Rowers from Kansas and Texas all groaned from the force required to launch the carbon fiber shells from a standstill. Coxswains coaxed, flattered and verbally slapped their teammates as oars resounded from the strain in their boat locks. Then suddenly a rhythm arrived. Like a metronome the oars clicked off the smooth cadence and the late surges needed for victory. The 2,000 meter test of will against the mounting agony in muscled limbs culminated rarely in immediate joy over victory. Rowers were too taxed to even lift their arms.

Texas rowers didn’t actually walk on water as it might have seemed while they launched a boat. They won often, but from the smiles you see in the group photo came the realization that just competing in this often overlooked sport made everyone a winner. The two teams outfitted in pink to honor the continuing battle against breast cancer was the added bonus.

For the two photographers, the six races gave us enough time to again enjoy the beauty of the lake constructed by WPA workers during the depression. The aged stone dam and the cabins workers once called home sit just a few miles away from the modern Legends Mall, race track, minor league baseball stadium and thoroughly new major league soccer stadium. We photographed the multitude of birds between races and made a point of having our own fun with a little help from one of the crews.

As usual, the time spent on the water with KU boatman, Nat Marshall (so laid back how does he stand upright?), and working with the best “dam” photographer I know made a beautiful spring day even more wondrous.

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About jeffjacobsen

Thank you for reading my blog, Here I Stand. You can read all about me, my wife and my family on the Family page. God bless and keep you.
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3 Responses to Strokes of Beauty and Beastly Effort

  1. Tim Daugherty says:

    I want that lens that Laura is using. Sure you don’t have a spare one laying around?

  2. Earl says:

    Nice stuff. I must have just missed you. I was out at Wyandotte County Lake early Saturday afternoon riding loops around the lake. That is a pretty, hilly little lake. Aimee lives about 5 miles from that lake, so I often ride there when I go visit her.

    • jeffjacobsen says:

      We love riding around the challenging lake roads ourselves. On Saturday, we had to race back to Lawrence for an afternoon of softball and baseball.

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