Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team meets sucess and challenges at Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team meets sucess and challenges at Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

Combined Gung Haggis Fat Choy Kogawa House and Pyros dragon boat teams at ADBF 2006 – photo courtesy of Deb Martin

Thank you very much to the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Kogawa House dragon boat team for one of my
most fun and challenging dragon boat weekends.  I love that our paddlers are
enjoying the experience and are not only exploring new opportunities –
but also want to do better!

It was a weekend full of promise and fun with lots of highlights.
– we were interviewed by CBC French Television & Radio
– proud that Constance stood up and did a wonderful media interview in French
– we had extra races with Philipino team – winning a bronze medal
– Ann-Marie becoming the “Keeper of the Dragon Puppet”
– dinner at the Foo's Ho Ho restaurant on Saturday night – good bonding
and chinese history lessons + watching Edmonton beating Carolina on TV!
– we got new kilts and sashes
– Jim wearing Kilt and sash with pride, and introducing his parents who
took pictures (another parent introduction – following Deb's mom, and
Jonas' parents)
– we were bagpipe serenaded with “Scotland the Brave” by corporal Norris
– Steven Wong paddled on a 50+ team and won!
– Friday night at Brasilia Exotica – the team is serenaded by Todd and Marian on accordion.
– Having friend/steers/co-coach Bob Brinson join us for the weekend.
– Kristine, Dave, Gurmeet, Teresa, Jennifer and Marian hanging out with us, even though they were rostered on other teams.
– introducing Gung Haggis to the many coaches and paddlers that I have
previously coached or worked with – who are on many of the top teams

There were also challenges that arose, and we had to rise to meet them.
And in the end… Maybe our views of dragon boat paddling and teams
have changed, and maybe we are ready for that next level.  It was great
to watch the final Championship races and the “Gut and Glory” race with
so many of our team members.  And have Deb yelling for “Wasabi!” –
cheering on our friends.

a team, I know we have grown. Many of us openly and willingly make
contributions and sacrifices for our team.  And that is good.

Todd Wong displays his new Fraser “sport” tartan, beside dragon boat buddy James Yu, who wears his “sarong.” – photo Deb Martin

Hosting the Philipino team was both an added bonus and distraction. 
Helping to manage and roster the team for each race, took energy away
from our team, but it also gave our paddlers opportunities to: paddle
more races; step up individual and team leadership; and have an added
sense of purpose!   To see our paddlers spontaneously trading or
giving their Gung Haggis shirts with the PYROS paddlers was wonderful. 
It truly demonstrated that I have always described our team as
“good-hearted people with good spirits”.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Kogawa House dragon boat team finished 5th in our
morning race on Saturday and 7th in our afternoon race.  There had
been a near collision, in lanes 2 and 3, which probably resulted in us
finishing 5th in the race, instead of our seed 8 position.  It
probably bumped us up to Division E, instead of F.

For our Sunday morning race, we loaned about 10 paddlers, + drummer to
the Phippine team races at 8:55.   They finished in 1st
place, setting them up to race in the Recreation F Division

Our strongest paddlers were already warmed up when we raced for the
Division F semi about 30 minutes later. It was a good race, and while 4
boats finished ahead of us, we had to wait to find out who if our 5th
place finish was faster than the other 5th place finisher, which turned
out to be the O2P team.

For the afternoon, I would have loved to have put many of our paddlers on the Philipino
team to race for a medal in F division final – but it was impossible –
teams were on different boats, and the races were back to back.  If we
had paddled well enough in our morning race to make the E Final… then
we could have done it (returning in a Gemini boat, and hopping to the
next Gemini boat).  This is fun racing… getting in as many races as
you can… and we will be able to do it at smaller festivals throughout
the summer – like we did at Barnet earlier this year.

For the Philipine team, I selected our paddlers who were dedicated to
the Philipine team + additional paddlers from Chilliwack, O2P,
Conquering Waves and Roli.  They meshed toghter 5 different team
styles and made it to 3rd place finish despite paddle classhes, paddle
pullouts and a messy timeing.  But they all received medals for
their efforts.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team had a tougher go for the Rec E
finals…  Despite being a favored seed (lane 5), we fell behind
at the midpoint, and finished 8th.

I thank the team for trusting me to make the best decisions
possible for our rostering for Gung Haggis and PYROS races, plus our
Gung Haggis team activities and events.    The PYROS paddlers have been
invited to our next practices and King, has offered a coaching session
(he lives in Vancouver now and hopefully he may join our team!)

Working with other teams.
At Barnet Race, we assisted with a Chilliwack team, at the Women's
regatta we paddled with a Tacoma team, at ADBF we assisted with the
PYROS team.  Last night after the races… I was asked if I would bring
the team down to Portland for the  6-16 dragon boat race at Sellwood
Park.  This invitation is from Jim Ketcham who paddles with Wasabi and
the US National team, and paddled with us in Portland in 2003.  Jim
said that if we don't have a full team – he will top us off with
ringers.  Jim McArthur of Lotus club was enthusiastic when I asked him
if we can bring the team and the Philipino paddlers to try some
outrigger canoe paddling at Barnet Marine Park with Lotus Club.

This is an example that top organizers, paddlers and teams love what we
do as a team in terms of community building, and it gives us the
opportunity to work with some great teams and paddlers.

Coach and Steers Todd Wong, with
drummer Deb Martin – the management team of Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon
boat team – photo courtesy of Deb Martin's camera

Coming up –
July 1st – Barrel racing in Seattle – with Tacoma DBA
July 15th – Seattle / Kent Dragon boat Race (Tacoma wants to “host” us
July 22/23 – Vernon DBF – canoes and kayaks at Deb's parents house

Aug 12 – Women's regatta at Cultus Lake
Sept 2/3  – Vancouver International Taiwanese Race (which Bob Brinson and I helped to found)
Sept 9  Penticton or Sept 10 ? Portland???

Please bring $$$  for summer paddling.
$100 per person includes:  boat rental / coaching + 1 event.
other events are $30 each.

I want to have 2 teams for Taiwanese race (advanced + beginner).


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