It’s hard to fathom that the long, successful and tremendously busy 2011 season is over, because in a way it’s not.

Even though the racing season is done, and I’m not working any more dragon boat races until spring, it’s really not over for me. I’m working on the 2012 event season now. What a wild ride it’s going to be, also. It looks like Dynamic Dragon Boat Racing LLC will possibly be producing and/or managing 15 events next year, up from nine this year. If I thought this year was incredibly hectic, next year looks even wilder.

I hope it begins the same way it ended. The 2011 Dynamic Dragon Boat Racing season ended in Memphis, on September 24. And yes, I did have to say on the mic one good time, “Thank you, thank you very much.” I couldn’t resist. By the time I arrived in Memphis after driving 12 hours from Cleveland, Ohio after working that dragon boat festival, I was exhausted and ready to get the week finished so that my season would be over. That’s not a great attitude to have, but we had already worked two dragon boat races in September, and Memphis still to go. I was reaching a sort of burn out and very much looking forward to what I thought would be a break after the Duncan-Williams Dragon Boat Races in Memphis. I was wrong about everything.

It only took about five minutes of getting into a boat and start coaching in Memphis to realize we were exposing new people to a new sport, and it’s time to have fun with this. I was lucky the entire week of Memphis to coach some teams with great personalities, including a motivated all-female team full of boot campers who wanted to win. They did very well on race day, too. The last team I coached had some serious talent, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with them to make them competitive. They won Gold on race day! I used that excitement to sustain me until after the races were over. Plus, since it was a first-year event, I felt like a child before Christmas Day. I actually woke up in the middle of the night feeling quite giddy anticipating race day and all the fun and unexpected surprises that always makes the day interesting. On race day, team members began arriving about two hours before races started, while we were setting everything up and everyone worked like ants to get ready. We started about 15 minutes late and quickly got back on track. We actually finished the day 30 minutes early. Kathy (the Dynamic Project Manager) and I looked at each other around 1:30 p.m. and I said to her what it looked like she was already thinking, “Are we really almost finished? This day has flown.” Except for Kathy not knowing where her cellphone was most of the day, every detail for a smooth race day was followed by the letter. I fell to the ground in a victorious celebratory sort of relief after it was over.

Following the Duncan-Williams Dragon Boat Races in Memphis, I thought maybe I could get some rest and relaxation. It had been a long six months of almost non-stop traveling to dragon boat events all over the country and logistical planning, etc. My head was full, my body was tired and I was road weary. But three different potential clients contacted me about doing site visits as soon as possible in order to get moving on their 2012 plans for dragon boat festivals. So, I traveled to three different destinations (one of which was across the country) in October. The nice thing about it – I carried the renewed excitement that got me through Memphis to “sell” dragon boat racing – an awesome sport with major fundraising capabilities – with me on every visit. Toward the end, I was getting tired again. Now, I’m settled – or at least as settled as someone with my energy level can get – and prepping for many more dragon boat adventures. There will lots of them in 2012, and I will be unveiling the dates very soon.

Paddles UP!