A Rookie's Reflection on the Season, Kim, September 2014

Tonight I removed the wristband from the last festival from my first season as a Dragon Healer.

I didn't know what to expect when I arrived to practice in late February. I wondered if I was too old to learn the moves that it took to be a paddler. The day after that practice I was so sore I had to lie down to put on my socks. I enjoyed the experience and returned the following Saturday for another practice. I bought a paddle and a PFD to seal the deal. There was a particularly stormy practice in March that I loved. It felt great to be out on our boat getting soaked with rain, paddling.

Our coach Ross drives you to find the best in yourself. Early in the season he spoke of race day and the preparation for the regatta in May and talked about Treasure Island, the final festival of the year. I looked forward to the experience of a race.

The regatta in May was a pretty low key way to be introduced to racing and a great time to begin to get to know my team mates. My family came to cheer us on and I looked forward to another race.

The festival in Long Beach was a blast. Everyone on our team took home a medal and as our captain Kathy said 'what happens in Long Beach stays in Long Beach'. There was a feeling of letting loose and soaking in the experience.

The season has moved on and already it is time for Treasure Island. Ross has been dedicated to getting our team race day ready. Kathy has been just as dedicated in taking care of all of the other tasks it takes to keep the team together and well fed.

Day one of TI was exceptional. Our crews, gold and red did well. The memorable moments were Ross getting emotional talking about the race the red boat had just completed. A testament to how much he cares. The other great moment was the Masters race and the headwinds and waves that came up late in the day. It made for an exciting start and thrilling race.

Day two brought our team out for the final races. Tony has been a steady steer. Tracey, our drummer, gave words to center us. It was a pleasure to focus on her words with the San Francisco skyline as a back drop. It was our last race and our team really was as one. We were all pushing to do our best. The beat of the drum, the wind, the spray of the salt water and the entire team shouting out the count in unison was extremely exciting. It doesn’t get better than that.

These are the memories that I will carry with me of my first season as a dragon healer.