Gung Haggis dragon boat team makes B Final in Alcan Dragon Boat Festival regatta!


Hi everybody

Good wet time to be had by everybody at the ADBF regatta on Sunday. Thank goodness we weren't out
there at 11:30 to noon when the rain poured sheets and buckets of water.

It was very important to stay warm and hydrated. Very good to see the team sharing food. Dan was passing
granola bars around. Joe offered hot chai tea. People shared blankets and jackets. Team energy was
very good. We kept our energy and our spirits up by jumping up and down, marching on the spot and with
jumping jacks. The group circle massage was very good too! Perfect group exercise for huddling closer
under a tent in the rain. Next practice we will learn martial arts moves with the dragon boat paddle to help
create the first marching dragon boat paddle drill team... he he :-)

Bob and I were very pleased with the team's overall performance. We came 3rd in our first race, and were
pushed into the top 50% of teams. Bob noted that of all the top teams - we had the slowest 1st race time.
This meant that we would most likely come 5th or 6th in race 2, which we did. This pushed us into the
Division B Finals, as the top 3 teams all went to A Finals. In our B Finals race, we had a very exciting
start and had paddles colliding with the Richmond Centre Dragoneers who were squeezed with GVRD on the
other side of them.

We can feel good about making it into the B category, as it shows us how much more we can improve, rather
than if we coasted in the B or C categories and beat other slower teams. Many of the teams we raced in our
2nd and 3rd races have paddled together for a few years and have a greater cohesion and number of
experienced paddlers than we have on our team. And we belonged in B, we only finished 2 seconds behind 5th
place in our 2nd race, and about not much more in the B Final.

The 2nd race in the Gemini boat was challenging. The seats are closer together, and even Craig Brown says
that it is difficult to get a proper rotation in them. All the ADBF final races will be in Gemini boats, so
it may come down to whoever can solve the secret to paddling in these boats will win the medals. We will
request a Gemini for our final Dragon Zone practice next Sunday on June 12, so we can practice really
leaning outside of the boat more to get a better reach.

For our 3rd race. The start was very very exciting as paddles clashed on our right side. While we want to
keep paddling so our boat will hopefully pull away from the other boat beside us... please be protective
of your hands. We do not want any concert pianists or dentists to suffer a broken hand or finger. Good
focus in the boat during such a confusing time. Very good example for us to experience, as we had remember
all the simple basics that Bob and I have tried to teach the team. 1) Focus in the boat, 2) Heads up 3)
R-e-a-c-h 4) Rotate 5) Go Deep - all helped us to stay competitive with these teams in the B Finals.

We had 7 rookies padding in the regatta: Ashley, Natalie, Grace, Tanya, Dan, Ernest, Daming. Naoko,
Jen and Cory are second year paddlers. Great congratulations to all of our race-seasoned rookies
now. We missed Pam who is on vacation in New York, and Carl & Aislyn who were celebrating her mother's
wedding on Saturday.

Great thanks to Jen Leung, Ian Paul and Cory for joining us on less than 24 hours notice. They were
each able to jump right in without previous practices with our team, and demonstrates how well they were
able to adapt. Ian and Cory paddle with "The Pirates" in Chilliwack - while Jen has been paddling outrigger
in Vancouver. We thank them each for their wonderfully positive attitudes and energy. Ian has
asked to join us for ADBF races, and we hope Jen will too! :-). Naoko was doing double duty, simultaneously
volunteering on the docks, and racing with us whenever we were on the boats - Long wet day as she had to start
 at 8am. And she had energy to paddle with us!
Wow!

Peggy also deserves a Big Heart award as she had been riding her bike all the way from Marpole when all the
big rain came down. At the end of the 3rd race, she was suffering from cold and exhaustion. First Aid introduced
her to the really cute Canadian Army medical officer. (please note: Ashley, Natalie, Jen,
Kristine, Grace and Tanya - I do not recommend this process for meeting cute guys.)
Craig Brown always brings great experience to any dragon boat he paddles on now. He gave Dan and Nick
some very good pointers, and helped inspire Ernest and Daming sitting behind him. Special kudos to Craig for
coming out with us, as he is paddling outrigger almost every day of the week, and having to do race-offs
against people contending his #9 position at the Jericho Paddling Club.

And special thanks to our newly minted drummer/caller Deb Martin! This was Deb's first time ever drumming
for dragon boats in a race. We really haven't given her much training or practice, and she has willingly
and reluctantly climbed onto the seat at the front of the boat. Comments from some of the team members
include "Deb gives us encouragement and helps us feel better." And no... Bob and I are not biased towards
Deb simply because she is my girlfriend. We have seen and coached many drummers and are genuinely surprised
at what a natural cheerleader and team leader she is sitting at the drummer's seat.

Great work everybody!

..... and PARTY!

We had 14 team members join us for dinner and drinks. Grace and Tanya were first to arrive, followed by
myself and Craig. Following soon after were Kristine, Ernest, Dan, Alf & Randa, Nick, Bob, Joe, Deb and
Daming.

Also joining the party were paddlers from the Horny Goats, TCC Carib and Drunk'n Dragons. All were very
appreciative of the opportunity to mix and mingle and socialize, and have good food and drinks. They look
forward to attending future events hosted by us. The P&H Horny Goats brought in a group of 10, so they will
win the $1000 sponsorship from the Roxy for next year's team shirts. I had great conversations with
this team, and we joked that next year to celebrate the Chinese New Year calendar, they may change their
name to the "Year of the Horny Monkeys."

Special thanks to Tanya and Granville Entertainment Group for helping to arrange the party and future
parties. We are hoping to start up new party traditions for dragon boat paddlers in Vancouver.
Next party: June 19th at the Roxy following the ADBF races. Definitely expect more teams to attend looking
to party, especially our friends from Wasabi in Portland, TDBA from Tacoma, and Dieselfish from San
Francisco.

Cheers to all,
Todd

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