Friday, April 22, 2016

Pulling Together - A rowing tale

Pulling Together On The River - Neil McLeod

I used to row at Guy's Hospital in the early 70's, and the premature demise of a colleague and fellow member of the Beverly Hills Academy of Dentistry, who rowed for Cornell, caused me to reflect on his exemplary life and what it takes to be a good oarsman.

Pulling Together
for Eric Loberg
Guy's Hospital Rowing Club

There’s flashing of oars in the water 
When the sunlight shines back off each blade, 
And the image below is reflected
As a perfect picture is made.

Watchers on shore at the bank-side
Repine and in their hearts say,
In a lost misty-eyed contemplation,
“Oh, I’ll be an oarsman one day!”

We are all going down to the boathouse,
We cannot be turning up late
Together we’ll reach in and toss the shell
We don’t want to make others wait.

We’ll walk the shell down to the dockside,
Step to and lower it with care
Gently down into the water,
For that we need every one there.

Commitment is needed to be in a crew,
To bend your back to the oar,
To lean in time and draw it through
When the coxswain’s demanding more. 

Control is essential to follow the stroke,
To feather your blade on return,
Then do it again and again and again,
When a smile is all you will earn.

It takes grit to turn up at the dockside
On a day when you’re facing a race,
Giving your all when the flag goes down
Responding, (if beaten), with grace.

But the art is to love being part of a team,
Pulling together in time,
When muscles and sinews comply with your will
In tune with the rhythm and rhyme.

There’s flashing of oars in the water 
When the sunlight shines back off each blade, 
So rejoice in the feat of a race well run
And the perfect picture it made. 

As the blades feather out at the surface
The water just closes again,
Like the life of a loved one vanished away
Only ripples and memories remain.

Eric Loberg
Dr. Eric Lewis Loberg, 69, passed away March 15, 2016, at UCLA Medical Center following complications from lymphoma. He was a longtime resident of Westwood, and an avid Bruin fan. A past president of Westwood Village Rotary Club, Dr. Loberg was also an eight-time US National Rowing Champion and seven-time Canadian National Rowing Champion. As he used to say, "I'm just a simple country boy from upstate New York trying to make it here in Tinseltown."


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