Friday, June 09, 2006

Dragon Boating

Last night, with a sky full of City Airport planes landing and taking off on one side and the golden glow of a sunset on the other, I raced in a dragon boat for the first time. I been to training 5 or 6 times before but there were never enough people for two boats. Last night we had 12 in each boat, did a bit of timing practice (so we all paddled in time), some pyramids(in twos took turns to paddle)and some practice starts culminating in a best of three 250m set of races.

We took 2 strokes forward to get in line, we were told 'Down and ready', I took a deep breath and off we went. I ignored the pain in my shoulders and concentrated on trying to keep in time. That was what we had to focus on we were told. I watched down the middle of the boat to the front to get my timing. We were urged on by the person at the helm. 'Make it count', he told us.'You can do it.' I looked at the other boat to the left of us. We were edging ahead. I spotted the finish. I looked down the middle of the boat to keep in time. 'Dig deep', he said. We did. We won.

I hadn't really started paddling to be competitive, just to get fit and try something new, but when we patted each other's backs and congratulated each other on a job well felt good.

The helm of the other team complained that we had been a fraction ahead at the start and when our helm agreed, given the phychological advantage the boat in the lead has, I felt somewhat deflated. The next race was harder, we had just used a lot of energy in the last race and then to feel we had had an unfair advantage weighed heavily on my progress, but I still went for it...and just concentrated on keeping in time with the other 11 people in the boat. We were neck and neck. Our helm told us to concentrate on the people our own boat not theirs and keep time. We got a fraction ahead, our lead widened and we won again.

Even though we got best of three, we still did the last race. This time we gave them a head start, which meant we had to work even harder. I would have thought we wouldn't care about the race, having already won the requisite 2 out of 3, but no we were still putting our all into it and keeping time we managed coming up to the finish to pull away from them and just pip them to the post.

I barely knew the people on my boat. I knew the names of four of them, the other's I had met for the first time...yet we worked together well as a team. We had good leadership from the helm, everyone supported one another and worked hard towards a straight forward achievable end.

And although it was my first race...this is what happens everytime I go training. At the end of every session we congratulate each other for a job well done. We don't have to win to get a sense of achievement.


At 11/6/06 10:18 pm, Blogger Thomas said...

hey roz thanks for letting me read your essay. josh also told me to read something on people with APD (Avoidant personality disorder) and although you most probably know as much as there is to know about these type of disorders i couldnt help but think of you when i was reading it and thought that you are probably faced with many people up club who suffer from APD.
it helped me gain more knowledge on the subject. maybe it could help you. heres the link


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