Why Long Beach is a Great Festival
For a few years I’ve heard good things about the Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival. Whenever Captain Kathy or Coach Ross talked about Long Beach, the quantity and quality of their words were high. You could sense the reverence the Dragon Healer’s leadership had for Long Beach. After last year’s festival, veteran Steersman Tony declared Long Beach as “FANTASTIC!” There were always strong emotions.
I’ve always enjoyed Treasure Island but I was never someone who liked to travel. Long Beach seemed so far away. Captain Kathy asked me to go a few years ago and I turned her down. After Tony’s declaration last year I was intrigued. This year I was determined to find out what the Long Beach race was all about.
After arriving at Marine Park and walking to the race site with the team, I noticed the waterway seemed larger and wider than I imagined. The atmosphere seemed relaxed and tranquil. Two days later, after the races were done; after the festivities were over; after enjoying the camaraderie and support from fellow Healers, I had a vastly different view of Long Beach. The event seemed bigger, grander, and much more enjoyable than I could ever have imagined. I liked seeing the racing close up. There was a buzz in the air, a positive energy that’s hard to describe. None of the pictures and videos of past Long Beach festivals did the real thing justice.
Trips away from home can often test the patience and emotions of the group. The hard work and diligence of Captain Kathy, Coach Ross, Coach Lawrence, and Steersman Tony can only prepare the group for so much. The rest is up to us. We spent the weekend traveling together, eating together, racing together, living together, and helping one another. This created a team synergy that seem to boost us mentally and physically to new heights. The medals we won are a testament to this.
Treasure Island is a grand festival in itself but Long Beach has a certain type of charm that makes it very appealing. Long Beach is a fun and fulfilling event that all paddlers, particularly the newbies, should come and experience.