1. OMG it is much more difficult than it looks: 
Everything, every position and every move will feel awkward.

2. Paddle and PFD: 
Once you find the right paddle in the storage box you will begin to arrive early to ensure you get first dibs and the driest PFD (they are stinky). 
Many times you will find yourself grabbing the ones from the team at earlier practice.

3. We do not ROW we PADDLE. 
Do not make the mistake I first made by saying the dreaded "R" word.

4. Feeling intimidated by Coach Ross: 
You will soon realize that he really is a pretty cool coach. 
He genuinely cares about you and wants you to be the best you can be. 
He takes his job very seriously. 
You will never get this level of quality training and discipline from anyone else.

5. I think Kathy is married to Ross...: 
Kathy(Team Captain) is married to Ross. Yup took me a while. I don't know why I did not connect the two last names.

6. Zoey's Mom. Who is Zoey?: 
Ohhhhh... Zoey is her cute doggie!!! Yup that was quite a revelation at that point. Just assumed that it was Kathy and Ross' human daughter somewhere (either grown and out of the house or just locked up in the house and we never see...LOL)

7. Who is this Tony guy?: 
You will quickly realize that he is a big deal. 
He is our biggest cheerleader and the anchor especially when it comes to race days. He is our secret weapon, the Ninja and one of the nicest guy you will ever meet.

8. OMG why does my paddle keep hitting the side of the boat?: 
Blisters will start appearing at the top corners of your thumb knuckles. 
You will soon realize that water proof band aides and finger cots are the bomb and then the gloves with grips become your best friend. 
Eventually you will stop hitting the side of the boat.

9. The Sore and Wounded Booty: 
You realize that the pain is getting worse and one day you look in the mirror to discover gaping open wounds in the area. 
You try every ointment, every size water proof band aide and even try to get creative ( stuffing small towel inside your pants) only to find that nothing works because it is really in an awkward area. 
You try to tough it out because no other newbie is complaining until you can't take it anymore. 
You finally inform Kathy and she responds ecstatically! She will congratulate you for your Battle Scars and welcome you officially to the team (kind of like an initiation) and recommend using these special sticky pads that you can get at any drug store. It really works. 
AQUAFOR is the cure all ointment that will close up that nasty wound. 
You will also find yourself ordering the waterproof padded saddle and say to yourself DAMN I should've ordered these from Day 1. 
BTW - I still have the scars on both cheeks and they look like birthmarks. I'm assuming these are permanent like a tattoo.

10. So much easier paddling on one side than the other: 
My right side was so much more comfortable than paddling on my left. Eventually with practice both sides became comfortable. You will realize how this comes in handy during race time because you never know which side you will be seated and it really comes in handy to be strong on both sides.

11. Stinky Stinky Stinky: 
You are not sure if you are going to continue with this Dragon Boat thing but you do know that you can no longer take the stinky blue PDF. So you order a cute cool PDF!

12. BURNWATER Paddle: 
You are starting to feel pretty cool with your new vest and now you are tired of fighting for a paddle your size and tired of having to practice with the paddle that is not your size. You try holding fellow paddlers personal paddles and realize how lightweight they are and realize the convenience of having your own paddle. Kathy will arrange BURNWATER paddle to let us try out their paddles at one of the practice with option to purchase at a very decent group discount. You are still unsure of continuing on with this Dragon Boat thing so you ponder whether to invest in the paddle. I believe all the newbies during my first season ended up getting personal paddles either via BURN or Amazon.

13. Embrace the Newbie Boat: 
Occasionally you may find yourself in a boat with just newbies. You realize how nice it is to get a break and this is when all the instructions make sense. You get more one on one explanation of why we do what we do and also best time to ask any question you may have. There is no question that is a stupid question.

You will hear this chant that the two front paddlers (strokes) yell to ensure we are in sync with our paddle strokes. It is confusing at first and you wonder if you are doing it correctly. But it will eventually make sense.

15. Waiting for the practice CANCELLED email or text: 
NEVER - we do it in the rain, fog, hot, cold, freezing, you name it we are still there. That's how we roll!

16. 1st RACE DAY: 
Adrenaline, Excitement, Uncertainty, Lost, Anticipation and Nervousness. You will quickly realize that it is way different from our practices up to this point. The boat feels different, it feels more powerful and quicker with another boat next to you on both sides. All your training kicks in and it feels pretty awesome. You find yourself wanting to medal and give it your all! You walk around with the feeling of WOW I can't believe I am doing this and it is so much fun and challenging!

17. Congratulations you are no longer a newbie: 
You feel accomplished and official. Some of you may still wonder if you are going to continue or return. For me it was a no brainer... I LOVED every moment and experience and most of all I just love the diversity and atmosphere of inclusion from fellow team mates along with that special family feel that you get with the Dragon Healers. Whatever this journey brings you my wish is that you embrace and enjoy every moment. Have fun while getting fit. Not just regular fit but PADDLE FIT. 
Hope to see you return next season!