Find a back issue

The White Rock Boathouse Is a Good Thing

Before you all savage me in the comments, I do not know as much about this topic as Tim, Schutze, or a bunch of other reporters/writers in Dallas. I haven’t followed it too closely because, up until two weeks ago, I covered three municipalities that sit nowhere near the lake.

I do know about one thing that none of them do: high school rowing. I rowed in high school and college back east, first in New York and then in Philadelphia. I’ve rowed on the Hudson River, the Schuylkill River, the Charles River, and basically every river, reservoir, lake, or damned swamp between Boston and Nashville.

And you know what? It’s a pain in the ass to break down a boat after every race. Gotta pull the rigging off, gotta remove the seats, gotta strap it down onto the trailer. Probably takes a good hour each time, if you do it right. And without a permanent boathouse, Dallas United Crew is doing a bunch of those steps every day during the season.

Now let’s break down the racial component here. I’ve sat through a few meetings where opponents of the boathouse claimed DUC was essentially a white club, a lingering reminder of inequality because the majority of its rowers were from Highland Park. This, folks, is rowing in general. It was a sport of prep schools and private colleges, but has trickled down over the years, landing at my awful public high school in the 1950s.  As Tim pointed out last week, DUC has rowers from 25 schools and 26 ZIP codes. Are these kids mostly white? Probably, but the fact that Dallas is expanding the base of possible rowers by offering it to black, Hispanic, and Asian students far exceeds what most boathouses in this country look like.

Rowing taught me a bunch of things (teamwork, the importance of quadriceps, blah) but it mostly got me into some colleges I wouldn’t have gotten into otherwise. Let’s give some other kids a chance to fall up.