A Newbie's First Regatta, Michelle, May 2014

Hi Healers,

Thank you so much for welcoming me into your team and treating me like family! Little did I know 3 months ago when I parked my car up on Lawton Street and ran into Kathy on my way down the hill to my house, that, that moment would be the beginning of a completely unique experience.

I have never seen a more dedicated coach than Ross. I can see in his eyes that he looks into each one of us and knows exactly what we can and can't do and pushes us to reach that potential. Kathy has been an amazing team captain as well! Whenever I have the privilege of paddling in the boat she is in, her energy ignites me and when I hear her scream during the finish, a new energy wells up from deep down that I didn't know was there before and gets my tired body to pull the boat to the end.

Thank you Tony, Tracy, all of the Balboa high school students, and every single one of my fellow-Healer teammates! From each one of you, I learn so much. I watch everyone's paddling style at practice and whenever I notice something I like about it, I try emulating it and internalize that quality.

My first experience with that was when Ross seated me behind Rob and in front of Joe. From Rob, I got to watch and attempt-to follow his great rotation, so when I saw him turn, I turned. And from Joe, I learned what it meant to reach as I would feel his paddle coming up from behind if I didn't lean far enough forward. At the end of that practice, I understood what Ross meant by Reach-and-rotate (but of course am still far from mastering it).

Thank you all for being like one big family to me! I never knew that I would find something as special as this team to practice with. In fact, before I ran into Kathy, I was telling my husband that I missed being part of a team (I used to compete in Martial arts during grad school) but once I graduated, that was over and it was hard to find something like that in the big-adult-world . . . so I learned to live without it, but I always missed being part of a competitive team . . . then . . . I ran into Kathy and Zoey and everything changed!

Thanks for this wonderful experience! It has made a positive impact in everything that I do (even my weight training) because now I can lift with purpose whereas before it was just for fun or to see what weight I could get up to, but now I know that every inch of progress I make in the gym will also make me a better athlete and a stronger paddler. Thank you all ! I am so honored to be a Healer!