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Dragon boating is a very popular
water sport and there are festivals held all over the world. Many of those
have special breast cancer survivor races, plus there are international
breast cancer survivor only festivals.
I belong to a breast cancer survivor
dragon boat race team. I have been to an international festival in Vancouver,
British Columbia, Canada, one in Caloundra, Queensland, Australia, and one in
Sarasota, Florida, USA. About one hundred teams gather from around the world at each of these events and it is amazing to see the thousands of women dressed in pink.
Each team has twenty paddlers in the
boat, plus one drummer and one steersperson. The drummer, who sits at the front
with a drum and baton, pounds the drum to keep us paddling in rhythm while the
steersperson in the back keeps us on course. Both of them watch our
paddling technique. The boat is narrow at both ends and bulges in the middle,
making it a tight fit for the paddlers at the front and back. There are two paddlers per seat and the person beside you is your partner.
As paddlers we have one hand on the
handle of the paddle and the other on the shaft near the blade. We raise the paddle
and lean out over the side of the boat so that the paddle is vertical and both hands are over the water. We
rotate our upper bodies which puts the blade of the paddle beside the hip of
the person in front of us. This is our reach. We jab the blade into the water
and pull it back until it is near our own thigh then lift it out. That is our
stroke. All the twenty paddlers have to do this in unison, called timing, in
order for the boat to go forward. The faster we stroke the faster the boat
I find that Facebook is a wonderful
tool for connecting with family and friends around the world. Each day there
are many funny videos and thoughtful sayings shared on it. The following is a
list of orders given to dragon boat paddlers by their steersperson or drummer
that was shared on Facebook. I have heard them all either during practice or in
a race. However, taken out of context they may be considered a little off
colour. I have added a few to the list as well.
Do you mind stroking for us?
Do you have any wax for my shaft?
We'll do a wet start.
Give me two more inches.
Lower your hand on the shaft.
Pull out sooner, you're getting me
It's really tight back here.
You're holding the shaft too tight,
relax your grip.
Dig it deep and feel the glide.
Open up and show your partner your
Don't bob your head.
We are a bit front heavy.
Give it to me.
Don't pull out too soon.
Give it all you got.
Close your eyes and feel the rhythm.
Pull it out at the same time as the
person in front of you.
I have a blister on my butt.
Lift your butt cheek when you reach,
it helps you thrust more.
You're pulling out too soon and it's