Sunday dragon boat practice: Gung Haggis meets the Pirates

We had a nice interesting practice on Sunday…

6 Gung Haggis paddlers + drummer Deb & Coach Bob (Peggy, Natalie, Naoko, Ernest, Daming and me)

+ 13 Chilliwack paddlers (The Pirates dragon boat team)

+ 6 Kung Fu club first time paddlers

+ 2 flag grabbers 13 & 14 years old.

Many of our Gung Haggis paddlers were on vacation in San Francisco,
Penticton, England, France and elsewhere… so we invited some paddler
friends from Chilliwack to join us.  But we had too many for one
boat – so we went out in two!

Coach Bob took the Chilliwack
paddlers in a teak and Taiwanese boat to teach them
what
is expected next week.  And… he taught them some of our race
strategies… naughty Bob!  We will have to discipline him later…

We took out the new paddlers for some practice to
teach them to paddle.  We wouldn't normally add first time
paddlers to a team one week before the race, but they are trained
atheletes and in good shape… plus, I have always wanted to have some
paddlers who knew how to perform a Lion Dance or a Dragon Dance!

The two boats met up together towards the end of the practice and
we exchanged some paddlers to even out the two teams – then we did two
races grabbing for the flag – very exciting.  The kids were
GREAT as flag grabbers…   Very enthusiastic, very agile,
very fearless… very LIGHT!

For the first race – our boat took the lead early and sustained it to
the flag.  But our steersperson, Coach Bob, steered away from the
flag to let the other team grab it as they followed in our wake. 
Naughty Bob!  But he figured since we won the race, grabbing the
flag was the consolation prize. 

We proposed a second race, and allowed the Pirates team to choose
anybody from our boat to join their team.  They could have chosen
any number of strong male paddlers including myself – but
Nooooo…..  they made a strategic choice to disrupt our chi, and
they chose our lead stroke Natalie.  No problem, our second seat
moved into the 1st seat, and we won another race.  And this time
Steerer Bob redeemed himself and let our 14 year old flag grabber do
his job.  Very happy he was too, waving the flag in the air!

Then we went to our favorite Sunday afternoon restaurant, Carlos and
Bud's for $2.49 drink and appetizer specials.  So sad to here that
they are closing in 3 weeks to make room for yet another hi-rise condo
in Yaletown.  Aren't there enough down there yet?

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