Ever said yes to something which you were not at all convinced you wanted to do? I think we all do at some point. Well, that’s what happened to me at the beginning of this year. I’d made a promise to myself to not turn down new opportunities and experiences, after all, life really is too short to say no, well not all the time anyway! Enter the Dragon, well Dragon Boat courtesy of one very bubbly lady who comes bursting into my world, ‘I’m starting a new dragon boat team, a team for survivors of breast cancer, it’s good for you, it’s fun, you’ll love it!!’ Did I believe her? Well, to be honest, no, not really, but she was so enthusiastic and my friend Sarah was up for doing it, so I remembered my promise and said yes, I’d give it a go. In my mind that meant I’d show willing, go along, have a go and then get back to my running the following week.
So one chilly February morning Sarah and I drove out to Wraysbury, not knowing what to expect. We didn’t know anyone else there or what we were going to be doing, of course I’d Googled Dragon boating, read all about the benefits of it for those who have had breast cancer and then seen photos of all these people who seemed so in synch, well that could never be me – I’m far to clumsy to be co-ordinated!
Well I needn’t have worried, we picked out our buoyancy aids and a paddle each and were given a safety talk and demonstration of how to paddle, then to heave this huge boat out of the shed and down to the water. Nervous? Hell yeah!! We were lined up and decisions were made as to where in the boat we should sit before our first tentative steps along the jetty and into the boat.
Quite honestly I don’t remember all the details, but what I do remember is how fantastic the coaches and existing paddlers were. We were a new team, with no name and no idea what we were doing and we had come along and, to be honest, invaded a very well establish team, the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes were a well practiced team and here they were with a load of newbies loaded into their boat, trying their best, but no doubt making lots of mistakes. There was the unmistakable clash of paddles and splashing of water but they were so gracious, so encouraging and so helpful. Okay, I’m going to give it a go next week….. that really was fun….
I then thought I’d alternate between Dragon boating and Parkrun, which I’ve been trying to get back into. Maybe it was the extra lie in on a Saturday morning, maybe it was the fear of not improving as quickly as the rest of the team, or more likely I just really enjoyed being out on the water, working hard, but doing so as part of an evolving team. Sometimes ending up going three times a week and I’ve have now even managed to get my son to join me. Whatever, it’s a brilliant way to start a morning……
Of course, once you start on with something new like this it really does snowball, in all sorts of ways, now when I can’t be out on the water I find myself trying to read up about it, find out more about the community, the races, the different groups and strangely fascinating are articles about training and techniques, one site I’ve found really worth while is http://www.dragonglobe.com it starts to make sense of things, like why the coaches put people in the boat in the order that they do, that was all in an article ‘Sections of a Dragonboat’.