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In 1872, the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen was formed to more clearly demarcate the boundary between professional and amateur oarsmen. The Minnesota Boat Club (MBC) prided itself on upholding the 'amateur ideal:' embracing the sport of rowing exclusively for its beauty, pleasure, and need for refined technique--not as a means to make money. As the club grew throughout the 1880s, it came to be associated as much with the social as the athletic status of its members and was ever vigilant that its members adhere to the tenets of amateurism. After a glorious winning streak in 1893 attributed to the dedicated coaching of ex-professional John A. Kennedy, the club began to falter. When faced with seemingly inevitable defeat by larger, stronger, men they took another look at the definition of amateur.
I'd like to thank Ramsey County History for publishing Upholding the Amateur Ideal at the Minnesota Boat Club in its Summer 2018 issue (Vol. 53 No. 2 pp. 21 - 31). Ramsey County History works to preserve the past, inform the present, and inspire the future of Ramsey County.
Photo of John A. Kennedy coaching his eight-oared crew curtesy of Minnesota Historical Society Collection.
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