Friday, April 10, 2015
#FBF: The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, 2003—The Greatest Boat Race, Ever
With only a few hours left to go before the 2015 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Races take over the Tideway for the renewal of the age-old rivalry between two of the world's oldest universities, it's a time for reflection. So we're flashing back this Friday to 2003—a race that, after 4 miles and 374 yards, came down to 1 foot.
Every year, we have to listen to a bunch of media pundits talk about how this race is irrelevant, meaningless, elitist, etc., and we forgive those people because we get that the best way to cause a stir online is to be negative, and that saying "The Boat Race" at this time of year is great for rowing SEO (and, while we're at it, let's throw in "Winklevoss," and "Facebook movie," just for good measure). But watching the race above, you'll understand just why all those people are, ultimately, dead wrong.
The 2003 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race was and is arguably the greatest in all the many years' history of the event, featuring lead changes, aggressive and excellent coxing, and flat-out, savage determination on the part of both crews. If you love rowing, you'll get better just by watching this race. In the midst of it all was Acer Nethercott, Beijing silver medalist in the British men's eight, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 35, having already had in one of the most successful and influential careers of any GB coxswain. And on the call, as he so often was, is Daniel Topolski, whose loss the rowing community is still mourning and who will likely be remembered often tomorrow and for all the Boat Races to come.
These crews seize the moment. This moment is not too big for them. This moment was made for them. Watching their approach, the poise with which they handle the numerous clashes, the difficult conditions, and the risks they are all willing to take on behalf of one another, is truly inspiring. They are all-in, no-quit, never-say-die racers—every one of them.
Take it in. Carry it with you. Learn from it.
I think you'll find it's relevant.