Experience gained in undergraduate competition in such sports as baseball, football, and rowing, as well as that gleaned from many subsequent years spent as a college coach, has convinced me that rowing is the finest, cleanest and most beneficial of all amateur sports. It is, to my mind, the finest, because of the things which are required of one who would excel in it; because of the undeniable grip it has on almost every man who had come under its spell, a grip which lasts far beyond his active days in the sport, and because I believe these two things, rowing’s requirements and its fascination, give to the man who participates in it more real and lasting benefits than any other sport.

            For the college undergraduate, it is a long, toilsome journey to a seat in a Varsity shell, but in that long journey the boy learns several things. He learns how feeble is individual effort and how strong is united effort. He learns the value of team work in the sport which requires it in far greater degree than any other sport the American takes part in. He finds he must often give up individual rights and desires for the benefit of all concerned. He must have the true spirit of cooperation if he is ever to become a real part of any first-rate crew, and to my mind there is no denying that fact that some of this spirit on a widespread scale, giving up of petty individual rights and desires for the benefit of all concerned, would go some distance toward solving a great many of the world’s problems.

            It is my honest belief that you will find in the crew squads of universities and clubs the very highest type of young man. There is no more unselfish sport than rowing. For the oarsman there is no near-by, shouting crowd of admirers. There is simply the pleasure of the sport for itself and the satisfaction of going a job well.

            In rowing, there are no substitutions. When once you sit in a shell at the start of a race, be it four miles or a quarter mile dash in a single, you are there until the end of the race, unless accidents interfere. There is no relief; it is up to the oarsman to prepare sufficiently before the start to be reasonably certain of accomplishing the work at hand. 
            Once started, there can be no quitting. And he must do this himself. No coaching, no other person can help him during the middle of a race. It’s up to him. And this is not so unlike life itself when, in our darkest hours with no one to cheer us on, we must “screw our courage to the sticking point” and press on against defeat.

                                                             

                                                            EDWIN O. LEADER  
                                                            New Haven, Conn., March 29, 1932