Remembrance of Greg Carroll

October 1989

by Patrick J. McArdle

THE IMAGERY WAS STRIKING. Standing outside Holy Trinity Church after the Friday morning funeral mass, I waited and watched. The championship boat-mates and coach of Greg Carroll, now his pallbearers, escorted down the aisle their teammate and friend, the first of their corps to cross the finish line of life's mortal course. My mind flashed to the daily routine of the crew portaging their fragile eight-man shell from river to boathouse. A collective snatch and jerk and then centipede waddle, it was a ritual of strength, timing, balance and teamwork that Greg had repeated hundreds of times with these very same teammates. Now port and starboard of this earth-bound shell, they hoisted Greg's final vessel down the steps toward its concluding journey.

My thoughts jumped quickly to an image from the classical studies of my youth: the slain Spartan soldier borne home atop his shield by his comrades-in-arms. The image conjured up sentiments of glory, duty, honor and courage, all root words from the Greg Carroll lexicon of life.

I recalled the archetype Greek hero, Achilles, who according to Homeric legend, chose a short, glorious life with eternal fame over a long, uneventful life. Greg believed in heroes and what they stood for. Not unlike the immortal Achilles, Greg always displayed in his usual larger-than-life manner, a deep intensity of feeling, at times masking his underlying wisdom, loyalty and compassion.

His greatest heroes were personal ones. But not in a private sense, for he would gladly rhapsodize about them at length: his wife Michelle and daughter Julia, whom he loved and adored above all else; his parents and sister whose gentle and generous disposition he shared; his two brothers whose daredevil exploits he would describe with equal doses of admonishment and boastful pride to anyone who would listen; his renowned rowing coach whose return to Georgetown he had longed for and worked hard to secure; his best friend and towering teammate whose prowess with an oar, Greg had once convincingly argued justified election to Georgetown' Athletic Hall of Fame; and the Jesuits whose teachings he had absorbed for eight years and whose way of thinking he adopted for his own.

GREG WAS A PURIST, confident that most in life could be reduce to simple truths. And these truths he kept either in his head, to be pronounced at moment's notice, or within arm's reach, recorded on little scraps of paper. "There are three kinds of people in life," Greg would quote to me from the Carroll version of Bartlett's, "boat movers, passengers, and boat stoppers." He left no question as to self-characterization, nor as to the type of person whose company he preferred. Remis velisque, he might have similarly offered from his list of favorite Latinisms as his own prescription for living. Literally, "with oars and sails," but in proverbial Ciceronian context, " with all one's might."

In an impure and imperfect world, quality is not easily quantified. Greg was a perfectionist, ever striving toward excellence. And he knew that competition provided the most visible measure of excellence, no doubt why he competed with such intensity. In bello parvis momentis magni casus intercedunt, another latin phrase he kept tucked away with a paraphrased translation appended. "Battles are won by those who blunder the least."

He loved a good challenge, often taunting his would-be opponents in an effort to raise the psychological ante. And he love to win. Greg would carefully measure his foe, looking for every possible weakness to exploit, a lesson he learned well from his scholastic days as a wrestler. And then he would proceed to complete - to use another phrase from the Carroll book of quotations - "with the calm confidence of a Christian with four aces." He would infuriate you one minute with his direct-to-the-jugular approach and then, victory in hand, charm you off your feet the next with his broad grin and a hearty laugh.

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY is a realm of perpetual youth and Greg was a natural in this environment. He spent many years coaching on the river where his young rowing charges learned first-hand of his strict adherence to structure and rules. Yet his jokes, silly and bawdy both, his inexhaustible supply of trivia, his frisky playfulness, and his candor were a constant reminder that he had always remained young at heart. He was wonderfully proficient at every variety of board and party game and was a card-carrying member of the U.S. Croquet Association. When he didn't quickly dispose of his wicket opponents with the skill of his mallet, he would just as surely vanquish them on a footnote to an obscure subsection of the official rules that he had committed to memory.

At play or at work, Greg was a man of action. From his scraps of latin quotes, he accurately defined himself: Facta non verba. Deeds not words. It is no surprise therefore that the outdoors held such a special allure for Greg. Whether it was rowing and coaching on the Potomac or chopping wood during weekend jaunts to the family cabin in the Blue Ridge or sailing excursions on the open sea or fixing up the cottage at Fisher's Island or just strolling across the campus several times a day, Greg recharged himself by getting out into the open air.

I had recently come across an outdated 1983 membership directory of the Potomac Boat Club and began perusing the list of names. Along with the customary name and address information was each person's colloquial name, "Bill" or "Jack" or "Tom," etc. And there it was, official, in black and white, right after the name of J. Gregory Carroll, the moniker "Mr. Everything." As one of his teammates eulogized, "it ain't bragging if you can do it." Greg had another latin maxim for it: Esse quam videri. Substance rather than appearance.

ALONG WITH THE HUNDREDS of mourners at the cemetery, tears filled my eyes as I listened to the last rites for Greg. Then from a distance came the call of competition familiar to all who have rowed: Etes-vous prêt? Partez! The roar of Greg's own miniature cannon pierced the air. And I then realized that I wept for more than just a friend. I wept for a hero.

Godspeed to you, Greg. Remis velisque.


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October 20
7:00 PM
Navy
Cooper Field
October 20
TBA
ITA Regionals
Lynchburg, Va.
October 21
L, 17-9
Fordham Family Weekend
Cooper Field
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October 21
W, 3-0
Seton Hall
Shaw Field
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October 21
L, 10-0
Uconn
Storrs, Conn.
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October 21
L, 3-0
Villanova
Villanova, Pa.
RECAP
October 21
All Day
MAISA Womens Championships
Bronx, N.Y.
October 21
TBA
ITA Regionals
Lynchburg, Va.
October 21
All Day
Kings Point Dinghy Open
Kings Point, N.Y.
October 22
1:00 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.

BEDN
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October 22
9:30 AM
Richmond
Cooper Field
October 22
11:30 AM
Elon
Cooper Field
October 22
12:00 PM
Sacred Heart
Fairfield, Conn.

Live Stats
October 22
2:30 PM
Virginia Tech
Cooper Field
October 22
TBA
ITA Regionals
Lynchburg, Va.
October 22
All Day
MAISA Womens Championships
Bronx, N.Y.
October 22
All Day
Kings Point Dinghy Open
Kings Point, N.Y.
October 22
All Day
Head of the Charles HW/LW
Boston, Mass.

Results
Championship 4+ - 1:16 p.m. Lightweight 4+ - 1:16 p.m. Lightweight 8+ - 1:48 p.m.
October 22
All Day
The ODU/OBX Intercollegiate Old Dominion
Kilmarlic Golf Club - Powells Point, N.C.
October 22
All Day
Head of the Charles
Boston, Mass.

Results
Lightweight 4+ - 1:30 p.m.
October 23
All Day
The ODU/OBX Intercollegiate Old Dominion
Kilmarlic Golf Club - Powells Point, N.C.
October 24
All Day
The ODU/OBX Intercollegiate Old Dominion
Kilmarlic Golf Club - Powells Point, N.C.
October 25
2:00 PM
Providence
Shaw Field

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October 26
2:00 PM
Xavier
Shaw Field

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October 27
2:00 PM
Villanova
Cooper Field
October 27
7:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio
October 28
1:00 PM
Holy Cross
Worcester, Mass.
October 28
7:00 PM
St. Johns
Queens, N.Y.

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October 28
11:00 AM
James Madison
Cooper Field
October 28
12:00 PM
Davidson
Davidson, N.C.
October 28
1:00 PM
Maryland
Cooper Field
October 28
3:00 PM
Stony Brook
Cooper Field
October 28
All Day
Head of the Schuylkill LW only
Philadelphia, Pa.
October 28
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Kenosha, Wis.
October 28
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Kenosha, Wis.
October 28
All Day
War Memorial Regatta
Geneva, N.Y.
October 29
1:00 PM
La Salle
Cooper Field
October 29
2:00 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.
October 29
All Day
War Memorial Regatta
Geneva, N.Y.
October 29
All Day
Princeton Chase
Princeton, N.J.
October 29
All Day
Princeton Chase HW/LW
Princeton, N.J.
October 30
All Day
USF Intercollegiate
TPC Tampa, Tampa, Fla.
October 31
All Day
USF Intercollegiate
TPC Tampa, Tampa, Fla.
November 1
2:00 PM
Creighton
Shaw Field

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November 3
4:00 PM
Rutgers/Pittsburgh/Seton Hall/Villanova
New Brunswick, N.J.
November 3
6:00 PM
St. Johns
McDonough Arena
November 3
TBA
Jack Kramer Invitational
Palos Verdes, Calif.
November 3
TBA
Jack Kramer Invitational
Palos Verdes, Calif.
November 3
All Day
ICSA Mens and Womens Singlehanded National Championships
Tampa, Fla.
November 4
2:00 PM
Lafayette Homecoming
Cooper Field
November 4
10:00 AM
Rutgers/Pittsburgh/Seton Hall/Villanova
New Brunswick, N.J.
November 4
6:00 PM
Seton Hall
McDonough Arena
November 4
TBA
Jack Kramer Invitational
Palos Verdes, Calif.
November 4
All Day
ICSA Mens and Womens Singlehanded National Championships
Tampa, Fla.
November 4
All Day
Head of the Occoquan HW/LW
Fairfax Station, Va.
November 4
TBA
Jack Kramer Invitational
Palos Verdes, Calif.
November 4
All Day
Head of the Occoquan
Fairfax Station, Va.
November 5
All Day
ICSA Mens and Womens Singlehanded National Championships
Tampa, Fla.
November 5
TBA
Jack Kramer Invitational
Palos Verdes, Calif.
November 5
TBA
Jack Kramer Invitational
Palos Verdes, Calif.
November 10
6:00 PM
Marquette
Milwuakee, Wis.
November 10
All Day
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Championships
Bethlehem, Pa.
November 10
All Day
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Championships
Bethlehem, Pa.
November 11
12:00 PM
Bucknell
Lewisburg, Pa.
November 11
All Day
Coed Atlantic Coast Championships
Bronx, N.Y.
November 11
All Day
ICSA Match Racing National Championships
Charleston, S.C.
November 11
All Day
Womens Atlantic Coast Championships
New London, Conn.
November 12
12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Capital One Arena

FSN
TBD
November 12
2:00 PM
DePaul
Chicago, Ill.
November 12
All Day
ICSA Match Racing National Championships
Charleston, S.C.
November 12
All Day
Coed Atlantic Coast Championships
Bronx, N.Y.
November 12
All Day
Womens Atlantic Coast Championships
New London, Conn.
November 14
7:00 PM
Howard
McDonough Arena
November 15
7:00 PM
Mount St. Marys
Capital One Arena

FS2
TBD
November 16
7:00 PM
Loyola Maryland
Baltimore, Md.
November 17
10:00 AM
Bucknell Invite
Lewisburg, Pa.
November 17
6:00 PM
Providence
McDonough Arena

BEDN
November 18
1:00 PM
Colgate Senior Day
Cooper Field
November 18
12:00 PM
UMES
Capital One Arena

FSN
TBD
November 18
10:00 AM
Bucknell Invite
Lewisburg, Pa.
November 18
6:00 PM
Creighton
McDonough Arena
November 18
All Day
IC4A Championships
New York, N.Y.
November 18
All Day
NCAA Championships
Louisville, Ky.
November 18
All Day
NCAA Championships
Louisville, Ky.
November 18
All Day
ECAC Championships
New York, N.Y.
November 19
2:00 PM
George Washington
Washington, D.C.
November 19
10:00 AM
Bucknell Invite
Lewisburg, Pa.
November 24
8:30 PM
Auburn
Nashville, Tenn.
November 25
6:00 PM
Richmond
Richmond, Va.

TBD
TBD
November 25
8:30 PM
Chattanooga
Nashville, Tenn.
November 26
3:00 PM
Northwestern
Nashville, Tenn.
November 28
8:30 PM
Maine
Capital One Arena

FS1/FS2
TBD
November 29
7:00 PM
Florida International
McDonough Arena
December 3
6:30 PM
Coppin State
Capital One Arena

FS1
TBD
December 7
8:30 PM
Howard
Capital One Arena

FS1
TBD
December 7
7:00 PM
Minnesota
McDonough Arena
December 9
2:30 PM
North Carolina A&T
Capital One Arena

FS2
TBD
December 10
2:00 PM
North Carolina State
Raleigh, N.C.
December 16
12:30 PM
Syracuse
Capital One Arena

CBS
TBD
December 20
7:00 PM
North Texas
Capital One Arena

FS2
TBD
December 21
6:00 PM
VCU
Richmond, Va.
December 23
12:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Capital One Arena

FS1
TBD
December 27
6:30 PM
Butler
Capital One Arena

FS1
TBD
December 28
7:00 PM
Providence
Providence, R.I.

BEDN
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December 30
4:30 PM
Marquette
Milwaukee, Wis.

FS1
TBD
December 30
2:00 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.

BEDN
January 2
9:00 PM
DePaul
Chicago, Ill.

FS1
TBD
January 2
2:00 PM
Xavier
McDonough Arena

BEDN
January 5
7:00 PM
Butler
McDonough Arena

BEDN
January 6
12:00 PM
Creighton
Capital One Arena

FSN
TBD
January 6
All Day
Rose Bowl Regatta
Los Angeles, Calif.
January 7
All Day
Rose Bowl Regatta
Los Angeles, Calif.
January 9
6:30 PM
St. Johns
New York, N.Y.

FS1
TBD
January 10
7:00 PM
Villanova
McDonough Arena

BEDN
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January 12
7:00 PM
St. Johns
Queens, N.Y.

BEDN
January 13
12:00 PM
Seton Hall
Newark, N.J.

FS1
TBD
January 13
1:00 PM
American/George Washington
Washington, D.C. (American University)
January 14
1:00 PM
Seton Hall
South Orange, N.J.

BEDN
January 17
6:30 PM
Villanova
Capital One Arena

FS1
TBD
January 19
7:00 PM
Marquette
McDonough Arena

BEDN
Watch