We start with the anti-Kentucky Derby: The race that had no controversy, perfect conditions – one where the crowd went home happy.
The Windermere Cup – right in our own backyard.
While the rest of the world debated whether Maximum Security should have been disqualified, becoming the first Derby winner in 145 years to be stripped of a crown right after a race, the Husky men’s and women’s Varsity Eights were leaving no doubt. They swept both races against the German national teams, once again continuing a proud tradition and proving their worth as a rowing powerhouse.
Admittedly, we don’t promote these programs enough. Admittedly, we often take them for granted. But whether or not we’re paying attention, they’re consistently making our region proud. And they have for so many years.
And that’s why I felt like this year’s Windermere Cup was extra special. As I’ve said before, the Husky men essentially put this city on the map when it shocked the world and won the gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Anyone who’s read Boys in the Boat would agree. And here we were, close to 83 years later, with the German national team finally racing the Huskies in Seattle.
There was a sense of everything coming full circle. And even better that the prestige and dominance of the local program hasn’t wavered. It’s a legacy that continues to link more than four generations of rowing fans – and one that is so incredibly unique to our region.
We don’t see all the grueling workouts and early mornings on the lake – often in freezing conditions. We don’t see all the sacrifices these athletes make. But the final product we see every May and June speak for themselves. And it’s a privilege for all of us to witness it first hand in one of the most spirited and memorable local sporting events every single year.
Right now, the Husky men’s Varsity Eight are ranked second in the country. The women are at the top of the polls. Once again, they’re both contenders for national titles.
And it’s a good bet, given a leadership that has an understanding and respect for the history of their programs, that we’ll be able to say that for many years to come.