LONG BEACH 2017, Marilyn, August 2017

It's hard to decide what my most exciting moment was - my very first race? our team winning a silver, and a bronze? arriving Saturday morning to see thousands of Dragon boaters filling the sands and the sidewalks? The excitement of the event filled the air and everyone seemed to be as happy as I was, with lots of laughter and hugs for friends not seen since the last event. Every member of our team was there to support and welcome every other member and the families that joined us. Friday night set the mood for what was yet to come, with hugs from several of my new friends and a strong feeling of camaraderie. And the next two days (and evenings) continued that connection.

When I first joined the team Kathy said, "Wait until your first race! You will be hooked!". Now I know what she means! I loved every minute and even the long waits between races seemed to melt away while talking to other members and running to the edge of the beach to scream as the Gold team paddled in either direction. I felt as a Red team member that I was just the "little sister" of the Gold team and wanted wins for them as much as wins for me.

I was so fortunate to be part of the team that medaled and I can still hear myself screaming as we crossed the finish line knowing that we just missed the gold by a Dragon head and the silver was ours. To say that I was giddy and euphoric would be accurate! Such a great way to initiate me into the life of a Dragon Healer.

We all know what a great coach Ross is, but I have to give special accolades to Kathy for her constant enthusiasm, on and off the boat. There is always a "Good job, Healers!", or a pat on the arm or back. We are so fortunate to have a coach and captain with such dedication, energy, generosity and expertise. Don't ever leave us!

And lastly, thank you to all of the members of our team for being so welcoming and supportive to a "newbie" that started out with one clipped wing. I couldn't have chosen a better group of people to start me in the world of paddling - I so appreciate you all.

Thanks for letting me be a part of this extraordinary group,