The Atlanta Lawyer May 2017 - Page 6

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE OUTGOING PRESIDENT'S REMARKS By James D. Blitch IV Blitch Law PC It is customary for the outgoing president to give the board members a small gift. I did this at our last board meeting. I gave each person a book, The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. This book tells the story of eight young men who in the mid-1930s came together as freshmen to row for the University of Washington in Seattle. This was during the depths of the depression, and Seattle was basically a lumber town. With time and training, they became an extraordinary crew. During their junior year in 1936, they started by beating their archrival, Cal Berkeley. Then they came East–winning first on the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, New York and then at Princeton where the 1936 Olympic trials for rowing were held. They beat all the big boys, all the well-to-do Eastern crews. They became the U.S. men’s eight for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. They became a big deal. 6 May 2017 In Berlin, in the weeks prior to the rowing finals, they spent a lot of time exploring the city and having fun. They were completely unaware of what Hitler’s Germany had been doing to hide everything. There is not time here to tell that story, but it is a fascinating part of the book. About the rowing, they had two big problems. The stroke oarsman, Don Hume, became very sick. He had lost fourteen pounds. He had a fever that would not go away. During some of the training rows, the coach tried using a substitute, but the boat was not the same. Even so, on the day of the finals, the coach thought he had no choice but to use a sub. The other rowers protested–they wanted Don Hume in the boat in the stroke seat, and eventually the coach relented. But it did not look good.