Follow the Dragon’s Alive blog every day until race day on Saturday, May 21 for the Children’s Hospital Dragon Boat Festival

What a great Friday the 13th! It was one of the best times (and most memorable) in a dragon boat. Why didn’t we have a camera to capture Team Captain Jason Hargis’ plunge in the drink? Oh yeah, this was a classic dragon boat practice moment. As I say often – What Happens in the Boat Stays in the Boat. All in attendance at tonight’s Adman Electric Flux Capaddlers practice can attest to that statement. Some of it I can’t publish… But the Jason spill I can definitely share!

From the time I walked into the parking lot and chatted with the group of 16 people standing there, I knew they were an interesting bunch who enjoyed working together. (That is always a sign that what might happen in the boat will be fun). I didn’t even realize I would be coaching them. We usually don’t determine in advance what coaches are taking which teams – unless there is already a bond or special request. So, when I walked away to check on another team, I didn’t know they would actually be my team.

Fast forward to the boat and the team. Immediately, we knew they wanted to get into race mode quickly. There were lots of brawny guys on the team who wanted to go fast. So, we took some time and slowed them down. Willie steered and I coached from a standing position in seat 10. I always “lay hands” on festival teams by walking through the boat and working with each person on the technique. I actually do lay hands on their paddles and go through the stroke with each of them. The difference in their paddling after that is amazing, which is why I do it. However, before I could even finish that process, which is always first, Jason was the lone paddler to fall in the water.

I’m really not sure whose fault it is. In saying that, I am admitting that it could have been mine. HA! I think because of the reaction, i.e.,  relishing the whole scenario, no one cares! As someone said, “We are definitely going to win in the having the most fun division!”

During my hands-on treatment, I decided to move two paddlers: Jason and the person in front of him. Keep in mind that as I gave the safety speech before we embarked, and the buddy system spiel, Jason says, “Oh no, I’m not going to be a buddy. Unless my wife or child is next to me, you guys are on your own. I’m gonna save myself…” Then, of course, everyone gave him a hard time and we all laughed and joked. As Jason was maneuvering his way around, he lost his balance and fell into the water. He said it was cold, but that didn’t seem to bother him. We all pointed and laughed. He got out of the water and paddled from the back. We spent the rest of the practice ribbing him and others, coming up with all kinds of banter. Some of it, I cannot repeat on this blog. We laughed. We paddled, prepared our race strategy. We laughed – a lot. We had serious fun! It’s exactly what this sport, this event is all about – along with the fundraising and all the feel good. Mostly it’s about being with others, doing something you feel accomplished about – this is a very good team, btw (medal contenders). It’s all good in my (dragon boat) world.

Paddles Up!