Sunday, August 29, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon Boat

2 years ago Dave and I went to Banff to watch the Dragon Boat races that are held annually in Banff at Lake Minnawaka (sp?). It was then I decided that someday I wanted to race in a dragon boat.

Fast forward 2 years to when I decided it was time to put together a team of 22 people to race in the upcoming dragon boat festival. Our amazing team name was "How to Train Your Dragon Boat." It was slightly crazy to coordinate two practices and make it to the actual race with 2o people but thanks to everyone on the team who were all team players we some how pulled it off.

During our practices we learned there is more to paddling a dragonboat than just, well paddling. You need to reach, twist, stay together, hug the gunnell, lean forward, push off your leg, and listen to the drummer (person who keeps the beat at the front at shouts other orders). We learned what "hold to boat" and "let it ride" meant. We learned how to start off and finish a race, how to pace ourselves, and most importantly we conquered the "power ten." I think we even "surged" a couple of times. Along with the drummer, there is a steers person (who is KEY) and the engine which are the burly guys in the middle who earned the nickname "The Six Pack"

The day of the race we had a goal which was three-fold. Don't tip, don't crash, don't lose. I'm happy to say we accomplished all three. That doesn't mean we won, it just means we didn't come dead last.

It was a gorgeous day in Banff so in between our two races we hung out on the rocky beach and enjoyed each others' company while relaxing. Although it was a committment for everyone on the team to make it to the practices at get to Banff, it ended up being one of the coolest and funnest things I've ever done. We all had such a great time and I think we would all agree it was definitely worth it.

Team members included:
Jordan Smith
Cherisa Tagg Smith (as of a couple days ago)
Glenda Tagg
Gary Tagg
Nikki Tagg
Kelly Smith
Diane Smith
Spencer Smith
Amanda Smith
Jenny Low
David Low
Mike Low
Steve Low
Josh Low
Ben Rau
Ashlyn Nielson
Sarah G. (won't attempt spelling last name)
Dan Hansen
Jesse Bullock

Wendie and Janae Low were also huge team players who didn't paddle, but were major supporters of the team!

Waiting for our first race

I was the drummer for one of our races so I had to sit atop a tippy drum. More scary than I anticipated.

The "six-pack"

Thanks to Wendie for watching Charlotte during our race times!

Who's up for next year?

PS - Below is Jordan's dream/short story he sent to all of us before race day. Hilarious.

"I have a dream! ...wait...I HAD a dream, literally. Thursday night I had a dream we were in the dragon boat race. Because of some mix up we started the race behind eveyone else, WAY behind. The dissaray and blunder of our start had seriously crippled our chances of any respectable finish. The other boats in the distance appeared insurmountable. The sound of their drum beating, cheering and stroke yelling was fading to a defeating silence as they paddled towards the finish. Why, oh why had we failed! We had so much promise! Did we not unify as a team while we waited for 2 hours for our coach to get the combination for the shed via text message?? Did Ben offend the Dragon boat gods by wearing a t-shirt sleave on his head?? Should we have paid attention in practise instead of making witty and hilarious comments?? As the woes filled my dissapointed soul I suddenly realised that we were paddling in perfect unity. Our paddles cut through the water like a diamond studded power saw through cheap plywood, like tostitos scoop chips through hot salsa con queso dip, Like a Dave Low swung driver through a Titelist 3 pro v1golf ball, LIKE A...ahem...sorry. We started gaining rapidly until we were parallel with the next closest boat. As our time ran thin we knew we only had one choice. Only one last desperate plunge could redeem us now. Regardless of how grueling and insane it may have sounded to the rational mind, it became our reality: Power 10 till the end! As Jenny began calling out the commands it was as if everything slowed down and her voice had become a deep drawn out man's voice, "poooowwwwwerrrrrrrr teeeeeeeeennnnnnnn", "one", "two", "three"! This was our moment of triumph. We may not have been the most experienced or skilled team but we owned the power 10. We took the power 10 to the bank and deposited it. We built the power 10 from scratch with our bare hands and lived in it! If our power 10 was in the NBA it would be the Miami Heat. I couldn't believe our speed. As I looked behind me I noticed that we were pulling a full team of water skiers but it didn't phase us! The finish line had come so quickly I didn't even notice it. We got second place! (also in the dream at the finish line we paddled through this weird curtain/drapery but that's besides the point).
Hmm, this was quite a bit longer than I had originally planned but oh well. See you guys tomorrow!!"

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