Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Jordan’s Sailing Club

Strip away the regatta jock egos, post race posturing and the poor manners of the champ who anchored upwind of you in Cane Garden Bay during a blow without enough rode…and then promptly departed in his dinghy for the bar – well then you have most of the rest of us (hopefully) and guys like Steven Belton from San Pedro, CA. Steve started “Jordan’s Sailing Club” out of Jordan High School on 2265 East 103rd Street in Los Angeles – a perfectly fine institution of learning as far as I know…just not a lot in common with, say, the bar scene in English Harbor this week. To be more precise, Jordan High School is in a Los Angeles neighborhood called Watts. The club specializes in getting inner-city children out on sailboats. They have their own boat, a donated 23-foot sloop named 5 Deer that can fit up to nine kids on board. Says Belton of the effort, “It gives them a glimpse of something else. You're planting seeds as a teacher. You don't know what will grow." I enjoy the spectacle of fast, expensive yachts battling as much as the next fellow but stories like this reinforce my belief that the act of is, at the core, an opportunity for us to get beneath the noise to a more pure place – the sense of wonder at successfully harnessing the wind, the feeling when the sails are well trimmed and the helm balances, that instant when you are in perfect harmony with wind and water…I believe it touches something deep inside of us. Steve Belton seems to agree and he took the next step by working to bring that feeling to kids who could certainly use it. Three cheers.

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