Steveston Dragonboat Festival

My team has been rowing every week for the past two months and in the last month, we were just preparing for the Steveston Dragon Festival that was held last August 20, 2016. I for one would say we really weren’t ready. We never had a practice when everybody was there and inside my head, I was actually just hoping for the best and if anything, at least we’d know how it’d feel like to be in an actual race. 

But, we actually got to take home medals! Okay, this was how our races went:

We were actually one of the first racers of the day. We were in lane 6 and it was a little shallow so I guess a disadvantage? The first race was for 200 meters and I know we really gave it our best, we were still last. We didn’t lose hope though. Maybe we were really good, other teams might just have been better. Our drummer said we were good at timing so that cheered us up! I was second seat which was good because I didn’t think I was good enough to be the first. I a little relieved it was Laura and Amber because I knew they have had more practices outside our weekly ones. 

Our second race was around 11:30 am and this time it was a 500-meter race. By then it was already very warm and scorching and I actually got so tan it felt weird seeing myself so dark. Ha. Anyway, we had a little panic attack because we never had a lot of members to begin with so Cheryl, our coach, had to go around to see if she could get spares to row with us. Luckily she found some last minute. And away we went still on lane 6. And still, we were last. By then, I felt like 6 was our unlucky number and even for other teams who get to row on that lane. I was watching other races and lane 6 was most of the time the last to arrive and lane 3 always got the lead. When we tried asking how they arranged the racing teams, we were told by senior paddlers that lane 3 was where they usually place the fastest team on that specific bracket and the slowest was either 1 or 6. And that actually made sense. 

On our third race, we were finally moved to lane 1. It was our last race for the day and would determine our placement. We were in Division D and I was just hoping for the best that time. I was a little bit motivated because I heard for the different divisions, for the first three to get to the finish line, they get medals. Who wouldn’t get pumped up by that, right? For the last race, not once did I dare look at our competitors because I didn’t want to get demotivated when I’d see they were ahead or I wouldn’t want to be cocky if I see that we were ahead. I was just focusing on the end of the line. I just kept paddling and paddling and paddling. It was one of the most exhausting one I raced in. At one point, I felt like I wanted to give up and just stop rowing but when I heard our drummer say “dunk it” or when our coach from behind yelled “finish it now,” that just kept me going. Imagine how happy we felt when we saw that we placed second and were told we got silver medals!!! It was one of the best days of my life, when you know all your hard work was paid off at the end of the day! 

At first, rowing was just something I never wanted to do because I thought it was a difficult sport. But look at me now, rowing/dragonboat/paddling is now something I love. 🙂

Paddle on! Until the next race! We are Warriors on Water!


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