We’ll Miss You, Jack

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May 2015 U17 Championships: Jack stands up and celebrates behind the crew

On December 4, 2015, a sudden and tragic accident took Jack Lewis’s life. Our Oakland Tech Bulldogs have lost a friend, a teammate, and a founding member of their crew.

At 16, Jack was a committed rower with a passion for the sport. The coaches say Jack’s consistent stroke always looked beautifully effortless but was focused and strong. He brought a lightness and humor to the team, and made routine tasks fun and playful.

Most recently, he also brought home a gold medal from the Bair Island Fall Regatta. Jack won the medal rowing in a pair with one of his closest friends since kindergarten (see a photo of Jack and Tanner on row2k.com). The conditions were terrible — windy and rainy, on a winding course with hairpin turns, just the kind of challenge Jack relished.

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Jack with his gold medal, November 15, 2015

Rowers know that a crew isn’t like other teams in other sports. To row together, to synchronize as one and move a boat well, takes a commitment to the people in the boat as much as to the physical training and technique. That commitment, that care, opens up our hearts and turns a crew into a family.

Jack Lewis was a valued member of this crew, of this family, and we will miss him dearly.

Friends of Jack’s family have set up a GoFundMe page — Jack Lewis Memorial Fund — for those who would like to make donations in Jack’s honor, as well as a LotsaHelpingHands site for well wishes and other support. The OTR coaches are scheduling a Row For Jack on our home waters when weather permits; please watch this space and the Oakland Tech Rowing Facebook page for details.

It was a shared experience—a singular thing that had unfolded in a golden sliver of time long gone, when nine good-hearted young men strove together, pulled together as one, gave everything they had for one another, bound together forever by pride and respect and love. — Daniel James Brown, The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics