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The Boys in the Boat Quotes

21 of the best book quotes from The Boys in the Boat
  1. #1
    “So is life: the very problems you must overcome also support you and make you stronger in overcoming them.”
  2. #2
    “It takes energy to get angry. It eats you up inside. I can’t waste my energy like that and expect to get ahead.”
  3. #3
    “It’s not a question of whether you will hurt, or of how much you will hurt; it’s a question of what you will do, and how well you will do it, while pain has her wanton way with you.”
  4. #4
    “In the white-hot emotional furnace of those final meters at Grünau, Joe and the boys had finally forged the prize they had sought all season, the prize Joe had sought nearly all his life. Now he felt whole. He was ready to go home.”
  5. #5
    “Ulbrickson knew full well that money more or less grew on the trees at Yale, and that funds had been vastly easier to come by in 1928, before the Depression, than in 1936.”
  6. #6
    “The ability to yield, to bend, to give way, to accommodate, he said, was sometimes a source of strength in men as well as in wood, so long as it was helmed by inner resolve and by principle.”
  7. #7
    “If you simply kept your eyes open, it seemed, you just might find something valuable in the most unlikely of places. The trick was to recognize a good thing when you saw it, no matter how odd or worthless it might at first appear, no matter who else might just walk away and leave it behind.”
  1. #8
    “Back in February he had commented to the Seattle Times’ George Varnell that ‘there are more good individual men on this year’s squad than on any I have coached.’ The fundamental problem lay in the fact that he had felt compelled to throw that word ‘individual’ into the sentence. There were too many days when they rowed not as crews but as boatfuls of individuals. The more he scolded them for personal technical issues, even as he preached teamsmanship, the more the boys seemed to sink into their own separate and sometimes defiant little worlds.”
  2. #9
    “It was the kind of thing that showed you that a little guy could still make all the difference, and it reminded you how suddenly events could turn around in this world, for better or for worse.”
  3. #10
    “‘That was a tough year. I wasn’t liked at all,’ he later said. ‘I demanded they do better, so I made a lot of enemies.’”
  4. #11
    “But there was a Germany the boys could not see, a Germany that was hidden from them, either by design or by time. It wasn’t just that the signs - ‘Für Juden verboten,’ ‘Juden sind hier unerwünscht’ - had been removed, or that the Gypsies had been rounded up and taken away, or that the vicious Stürmer newspaper had been withdrawn from the racks in the tobacco shops in Kopenick. There were larger, darker, more enveloping secrets all around them.”
  5. #12
    “Look, Son, if there’s one thing I’ve figured out about life, it’s that if you want to be happy, you have to learn how to be happy on your own.”
  6. #13
    “When the critical moment in a close race was upon you, you had to know something he did not - that down in your core you still had something in reserve, something you had not yet shown, something that once revealed would make him doubt himself, make him falter just when it counted the most. Like so much in life, crew was partly about confidence, partly about knowing your own heart.”
  7. #14
    “Rowing then becomes a kind of perfect language. Poetry, that’s what a good swing feels like.”

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  1. #15
    “You had to give yourself up to it spiritually; you had to surrender yourself absolutely to it. When you were done and walked away from the boat, you had to feel that you had left a piece of yourself behind in it forever, a bit of your heart... And a lot of life is like that too, the parts that really matter anyway.”
  2. #16
    “Joe, when you really start trusting those other boys, you will feel a power at work within you that is far beyond anything you’ve ever imagined. Sometimes, you will feel as if you have rowed right off the planet and are rowing among the stars.”
  3. #17
    “Every man in the boat had absolute confidence in every one of his mates... Why they won cannot be attributed to individuals, not even to stroke Dun Hume. Heartfelt cooperation all spring was responsible for the victory.”
  4. #18
    “These giants of the forest are something to behold. Some have been growing for a thousand years, and each tree contains its own story of the centuries’ long struggle for survival. Looking at the annular rings of the wood, you can tell what seasons they have been through. In some drought years they almost perished, as growth is barely perceptible. In others, the growth was far greater.”
  5. #19
    “Men as fit as you, when your everyday strength is gone, can draw on a mysterious reservoir of power far greater. Then it is that you can reach for the stars. That is the way champions are made.”
  6. #20
    “And perhaps that was the worst of it. Whether you were a banker or a baker, a homemaker or homeless, it was with you night and day - a terrible, unrelenting uncertainty about the future, a feeling that the ground could drop out from under you for good at any moment.”
  7. #21
    “For Ulbrickson, there was one overriding, and dark, fact to be confronted: he had failed again to make good on his public promises. It was very much an open question whether he was going to get another chance.”
Book Topics › confidence
Children's Books About Confidence