The Boys in the Boat

Chas Lyons
5 min readDec 11, 2021


And Finding Your Rhythm in Life

I have a friend, a mentor of sorts, in his nineties, who goes to bed quite early, but wakes up at 2 a.m. or thereabouts and reads for hours before breakfast.

He has found a rhythm to his life.

He has an insatiable appetite for knowledge. He reads not only traditional books, but has made the leap into the tech world of today with its myriad of media — from online books to countless blogs and essays on web sites like

He forwards his discoveries of authors and their writings to me, for which I am grateful. I smile when he appends the words, “this is the best article I have read on this subject.”

I assume that his influence, in part, is behind my own library of sorts, although I have always loved books and wandering through a used book store — the dustier, the better.

When I downsized and moved into an apartment, I was forced to cull my library. There are 222 books today and about two feet of available space. There will be arrivals and departures in a time of life now centered on minimalism.

I have spent the past year being more of a prolific writer than a prolific reader, publishing a weekly essay on But, without reading, there would be no writing.

All it takes is one quote, one word, one insight, one story to launch the next essay. I am forever on the “lookout”. But, discovering an idea is only the beginning and you descend into this place of mulling that sometimes makes people close to you think that you are moody. Maybe I am. Maybe I am not. Most likely, just on an inward journey that is part of the writer’s persona.

Recently, I pulled a book off my shelf to loan to a friend and it brought back a wonderful memory and one of those ideas worth mulling over.

The book is “The Boys in the Boat” about nine young men from lower middle class families who struggled during the Depression years to make their way through the University of Washington. They formed an eight-oared crew and coxswain that rowed a shell to narrowly beat out Italy and German to win the gold medal at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, a showcase for Hitler.



Chas Lyons

Chas Lyons is a retired CEO and publisher of newspapers. He lives in Rhode Island where he enjoys writing, family, and escaping to a log cabin in Maine.