The 2015 Dragon Boat racing season is upon us. It started fast and furious following a busy offseason finishing some capital building and moving projects.

Going on the road and preparing for race day coaching teams, helping clients and ensuring the event is smooth has been a nice change of pace. It also provides examples of people doing good for others. We get so caught up in working and making sure every single detail is in place, we often forget there is a reason for our racing season. It’s always sweet when the reminder comes unexpectedly.

That happened May 2 in Chattanooga after the Championship race. I coached a very solid team, CBL Fit Motley Crew. Several teams in Chattanooga seem to think it’s a Crossfit gym, because so many people on the team are quite fit. But no, they’re office workers at CBL Properties. Since they are in shape, and more importantly, they work well together, they had the fastest time in every race all day. This team has been chasing Gold for three or four years in a row, and they’ve always come up just short. This was my first year to have an opportunity to coach them, so we strategized to make it happen. As soon as I stepped into the boat, I sensed their collective demeanor in that last race. Everyone seemed very relaxed and focused. I didn’t really need to give them a motivational speech, but I did anyway.

As we paddled toward the start line, I asked the team if they wanted to practice any part of their race start. They said, no. They just wanted to do it. We made our way to the line, and when the race started, they made the boat surge on their third stroke. We got off the line fast, and there was no turning back at that point. No other team got close to us. I called a power at the end of the race, knowing they had already won handily, yet assuring our place in front. At the moment, many of the team members yelled with excitement and waived their paddles in the air in celebration. They asked to do a paddle clap – a sort of victory lap – and I agreed. As I turned the boat around to prepare for that, the team captain, seated just in front of me in row 10, said to the team, “That felt good everyone, but remember what felt even better was that we raised more than $13,000 for The Children’s Hospital”! What an amazing display of character, and a nice surprise.

Here’s a video of the final race.