Dragon Boat Newbie Race Report Blog, Kim, September 2014

I've played and loved a lot of sports in my life. I started with team sports such as soccer and baseball as a kid. Added an individual sport of tennis in junior high. During high school I played water polo and swam on the swim team. In my adult life I've played rec basketball, done my fair share of mountain biking, road cycling, & triathlon. I've basically never met a sport I didn't like.

In case anyone out there doesn't know already: THIS IS AN AWESOME SPORT! It is a magical combination of individual technique, group effort and symbiosis, hard, HARD workouts, and really dynamic and interesting diverse group of people.

Long Beach 2014 was my first race experience. I had 13 practices under my belt on race day. Not nearly enough in my opinion but I was told I was needed, so I went!

The intensity in the boat was palpable. Everyone was amped up, every time we went out on to the start line. Hearing the drummers for the other boats in addition to our own was chaotic and wonderful all at the same time. The best race was our final race for our division. Both our drummer and our steer were yelling wildly that time. We could tell something special was happening, but most of us kept our eyes in our own boat. When many of us looked up, we thought we had placed third. It wasn't until the race results were posted that other team members discovered the truth about our GOLD MEDAL! They broke the news to us with the entire team present. What a treat to be able to celebrate with the entire team! It may have been a better feeling than celebrating with just the 14 of us in the boat!

The other side of competition I enjoyed was seeing all of the (what seemed like) millions of people all gathered together to compete. The diversity of our team was also reflected in the diversity of everyone present at Long Beach. Seeing the blind team, the deaf team, and the very young kids racing in particular was fantastic. Finally, hanging out and getting to know my new teammates a little better while we all sat under the tent and waited for our next races, and cheering on our other teammates, might have been my favorite part.

…just the right balance of fun and competition…paddles up!