Gifts at Work: The Don Cadle Shell
July 7, 2009
Why should you row a boat race? Why endure long months of pain in preparation of a fierce half hour, or even six minutes, that will leave you all but dead? Does anyone ask the question? Is there anyone who would not go through all its costs, and more, for the moment when anguish breaks into triumph, or even for the glory of having nobly lost? Is life more than a boat race? If a man will give all the blood in his body to win the one, will he not spend all the might of his soul to prevail in the other?
On Friday, April 10, 2009 members of the Georgetown Rowing Association met along the bank of the Potomac River to dedicate a new varsity eight shell to former coach Don Cadle. A gathering of all generations of Hoya Crew and Rowing, the event promoted the quality and excellence in athletic endeavors that Don represented.
Don Cadle was a coach at Georgetown and a key to the team's success when the program was revived half a century ago. A Rhodes Scholar and former Balliol College Boat Club rower at Oxford, Don Cadle came to Washington, D.C., to serve as a NASA official. While working at the agency, Cadle also coached the Georgetown crews. Within one season, the team was winning Dad Vails and racing in the Olympic Trials. Cadle led the Hoyas to tremendous success on the water and instilled in the team traditions that continue to this day.
The dedication was attended by Inge Cadle, Don's widow, many of his oarsmen, the current squad, and alumni and former coaches of all eras. Former Georgetown rower and coach, J.J. Forster (B'70), offered a poignant address. In his speech, Forster read an article written about the new boat's sister shell, The Don D. Cadle at Balliol College.
The remarks of J.J. Forster:
Today, our thanks go to John Carlson for his generous contribution of funds that purchased this beautiful Vespoli eight-oared racing shell. He is the dedicated crew parent of Jack Carlson, a current member of the heavyweight crew. As in years and generations before John, such strong support has been critical to the success of our team. We are blessed that he sees the importance of crew in the lives of the students and its effects on building strength of character in everyone who participates. Later today, the present-day heroes and heroines of Georgetown Crew and Rowing will race to victory knowing that alumni, parents and friends are united with them through the tradition that is Georgetown Crew.
Tradition can be a powerful motivator and I am thrilled to be here for one of the best motivators Georgetown Crew could have - a new shell to be christened in honor of Don Cadle, an early force for change and success in the modern era of rowing at Georgetown University. It is wonderful that a number of Don's rowers are able to join us today. They come from afar as well as nearby - the original "Motley Crew" I believe. They will gladly relate stories of the Cadle style of coaching. It is a special treat to have Rachel Remuzzi and some of her children here. Her late husband Bob, a rower for Don, was my first coach at Georgetown while he was a resident orthopedic surgeon. She got to know and appreciate the special joys of rowing and coaching at Georgetown. Bob's long hours at his "day job" as a doctor went above and beyond coaching to include operating on broken racing shells, motor boats and crew trucks, logistical genius for team movement and fundraising. All activities have been traditions at Georgetown.
Especially for today's christening of the "Don Cadle," we are honored to have with us Inge Cadle, Don's wife and mother of Caron. Inge was the power behind the throne, yet in the words of Shakespeare, "Thou art more lovely and more temperate." She and Don made a unique team that not only got the crew through each year doing whatever was necessary day-to-day but also culminated in a championship at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia. In speaking of day-to-day dedication, Inge used to wash and iron the team's racing uniforms. Along with everything were a smile, good cheer, and good advice discreetly given.
So, who was Don Cadle? Ask a thousand people and you'll get many answers, but I believe the focus will center on qualities of his character for which all of us would be proud to possess and strive to achieve. Don came to us with his experience as a Yale rower and later as a Rhodes Scholar and Balliol College rower. That and a life's experiences strengthened Don as a force for change at Georgetown - one who remains a source of inspiration. President Obama cites the importance of Abraham Lincoln. Well, Don was a man modeled from that Abraham who in a letter to George E. Pickett on February 22, 1841 said, 'I have a congenital aversion to failure.' Don brought his drive and vision to us and molded crews and a tradition that we carry on today with this new shell for all to see each day as the rowers put their blades in the water. Don was a tireless student in the sense that he loved to learn from every source - history, athletics, travel, or having he and Inge bring new people into their lives - learning from them as well as giving to them important values that enabled all to live more meaningful lives.
Jack Carlson (SFS '09) coxed on Georgetown's heavyweight rowing team for four years and served as captain his senior year. Jack was awarded the Albritton Scholarship for graduate study at the University of Oxford, where he will study for a master's degree in archaeology and hopes to continue coxing.
J.J. Forster (B '70) began rowing as an undergraduate at Georgetown and continued his career on the U.S. National Team after graduation. He rowed with Michael Vespoli (B '68) in the U.S. four-oared-shell-with-coxswain team in the Munich Olympics in 1972 and was a member of the U.S. National Team, competing at the World Championships in 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1977. He won a gold medal at the 1975 Pan American Games in the four-without-coxswain event. A Marine Corps veteran who was awarded two Purple Heart Medals in Vietnam, Forster later served in various capacities in the GU Athletics Department, including as assistant athletic director for finance, as head coach of men's crew, and as overall coordinator of the men's and women's crew and rowing teams. In 1982, he was inducted into the Georgetown University Athletic Hall of Fame.