Daily Prompts · The Paddling Life

Athletic

I started playing badminton again lately. I would get tired very easily. My friend would always say “how? you dragon boat. You should be super athletic.” Considering, the amount of training I did for the past two years, its understandable to think I would be. But little do they know, that we paddlers are NOT the most athletic people.

Cheers and later days 🙂

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/athletic/

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The Paddling Life

The Last (for now)

Victoria Dragonboat Regatta marked my last dragonboat festival for at least the next year or so. The feels didn’t hit me until the very last race when my friend (the pres) made his final speech. It made me realize that this was the last time where I’ll be racing with this family.

Sitting now, I realized how much each individual has grown. I watched our president start 3 years ago as a new paddler to now soon getting ready to go Germany. I saw how new family members come to love this sport anr embrace thia crazy family. I saw and experienced how much this sport help each individual and myself find a voice and confidence.

This year, we’ve grown as individuals, but also as a team. My team, as a whole, always had 2 mixed boats. Since year 1, I’ve always been on the “B boat.” We never established that togetherness, or we never felt like a team. After a year of hard cold/hot practices, we built a team. We stopped trying to imitate what our other half did or had. We started push each other to the limits and motivate one another to do so . And through that, we found what works for us and built on it. We stopped identifying ourselves not as B boat or the slower boat. We identified ourselves as (AMS) UBC Thunder. We believed and proved that we are a Comp A team. And we are strong.

We made our mark at our last race. We hit our personal best and raced our best race of the season. We didn’t take first place, but we left no regrets. And there’s nothing more we can ask for.

If you happen to be my team mate and reading this : Thank ya’ll for making a mark in my life . Thank you for letting me be part of your journey . Best of luck in the future, where ever it may take you. Don’t be afraid to be fast or strong. Just be you and do you . Thank you UBC Thunder for taking in this derpy penguin/cat and helping her grow to be a stronger person 🙂

Ohana means family. family over everything.

Also: heres the video to the final race 🙂 Not my video so can’t take credit 🙂 credits go to the person who uploaded this onto youtube 🙂

Rambles · The Paddling Life

Place

(If you’re gonna say something bad or judge me  and comment about it. Please don’t . I really can’t deal with it right now.)

Have you ever had those days where nothing feels right? Where your bubble is burst? Where somewhere that may seem so happy and bright suddenly seems dark and depressing?  Thats where I am right now.

I live a very privileged and sheltered life. Parents took care of almost everything. Had nothing to worry about. I become complacent. I never sought for more or to learn more. I stood still.

It was even more evident after  I came back from my London trip. My drive to move up in the society ladder burned out. My motivation to improve fell short. Everything just stopped.

My current place in life can be summarized by 3 things: school, work , and dragon boat. School started immediately after my trip. So I spend work hours either studying or dealing with work related duties. As for training, I dropped a good 2/3 of the required workouts.  I kept up with team practice as much as possible, to keep up with the social side of life. School, work, dragonboat, and repeat. thats my life.  But as time went on, I grew comfortable with where I’m am. But that’s my current place in life right now in a nutshell . This is where I am at. This is where I’m stuck.

As the world moves continues to forward, I somehow just stopped moving. I stayed at my place. As a generally a happy looking person, for the longest time, I’ve been stuck in a place that’s not so happy.

(Unrelated: Dragon Zone felt like home to me. A place where I knew I would always welcomed It was a place where I felt safe to be me. It was my happy place. Whenever I have bad day or not happy, I would just take out an outrigger canoe for one and just go out. Go as along as my arms and body can take. When I need a break, I just stop. I close my eyes and let myself breathe in the fresh air.  Embrace the place around me. A place where judgement does exist, but only to motivate others to improve. A place where real friends are made. A place where friends become family. After I was done, my mind would always be in a better place)

Again, if you decided to not read my first couple lines , please don’t comment anything bad, unless its advice cuz I do need it. But, this is my place, where I am free to write my thoughts and feelings out.

The Paddling Life

Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival 2017

lets do a bit of visualization  🙂

Imagine yourself sitting beside and around you is the family that you worked so hard with for last 10 months.  All the pain, sweat and possibly tears led up to this very moment- racing in Competitive A division finals at the Concord Pacific Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival. Boats are aligned and you take a breathe in and dial in. You wait for the four familiar phrases. “All boats hold. Paddlers are you ready? Attention Please! Honk! ” . And the final race begins.

This past weekend  was festival that my team and countless other teams were all waiting for – Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival. This festival is one of the biggest festivals in Canada, with 2200 paddlers and over 200 teams. Paddlers  from all around the world gathered to race against one another.  Though from different countries,  they have one thing in common –  the passion  for this sport. Even if you weren’t racing, you could tell that we were one loving, energetic, and supportive community.

For my boat, advancing into the Competitive A division was our goal. Hence, semi-finals was the most important race . We needed to take first or second place to advance into Comp A. Our competition was tough. We wanted it and the opportunity was there to take it. Our coach always says t, “The opportunities are there if you want it, you just have to take it.” We were determined to take it. Each stroke we took, we felt the traction needed to make the boat surge forward. When our caller yelled to “take a seat”, you can bet on it that we gained a seat on our competitors.  We made our boat fly. Our team grunt at the end gave the loud and clear message that we gave it everything we had and left nothing behind. Looking back it now, we could say it was an almost perfect race. When we finished, we were anxious to know how we did. And we made it 🙂  According to our coach, we were in third for majority of the race. It was the finish that got us a ahead. We took 2nd place by 0.2 seconds. As you can imagine, we were overwhelmed with indescribable feeling. And all we could do was to hug and congratulate one another. The countless hours of  cold winter practices, the miserable oc days, and working out in the gym paid off. We made it to the Competitive A division. What was left after was to prove that we are a competitive team.

The most competitive and strongest team at the festival advanced to the Comp A division. To be able to race with such amazing teams, was an honour. To be able to race with our coaches’ team, One West, was even more of a blessing. They are a team we look up to very very much. From the outside, it looked like we didn’t do well. We placed 7th at 2 min (so second last :P), but to us placement didn’t matter. Because during that race, we felt like one team, one family. We gave it our all and left no regrets. And for us, that’s what mattered.

Though we didn’t medal, but I can leave you with this quote from one of my coaches

“Medals are won in the summer, but are earned in the winter”

Congratulations to all the teams and thank you for making this year’s festival so memorable 🙂 ❤

PS: And my one of my coaches did something we never imagined him to do. After our 2KM Guts and Glory race, he came down to the dock and gave us each a giant hug as we got off the boat. I guess its his way to show how proud of how far this once Recreational team has come. ❤

 

The Paddling Life

Ohana : Family

As we all have an immediate family, we always have people we consider family as well. We call them our second family. And most likely, these ‘family members’ are people who has seen you through tough times, people who you can open up to, or people you just see basically everyday. Nonetheless, they are people who have made a significant mark on your life.

My second family consists of my teammates. I call them my Thunder Family. This family has taught me things that I would never have learned anywhere else.

Heres a little poem of what they taught me:

Team. Theres no “I” in team, only “we”.

Humble. “Stay hungry when you’re behind, but be humble if you’re ahead.” – Dtam

Unconditional care. To always care for yourself and others, whether they are a stranger or a friend.

Never give up. As you are counting on your team mates to not give up, they are expecting the same from you.

Discipline. To stay disciplined when it comes to training if we want to reach our goal.

Endurance. Endure through the pain, the tiredness because it will pay off.

Reach. The opportunities are there, you just have to reach out for it

UBC Thunder is more than just a team to me. They are my ever growing family. My Ohana.

 

The Paddling Life

Dragon boating

Race season for me is right at the corner. My first race is in May. I think this might be my last year racing competitively before I step down and let the younger ones take my place. Right now, seems like a good time to take a seat and reflect the roller coaster ride that this sport has taken me on.

I started paddling in 2011, as a for fun thing after I quit badminton. I needed something with high cardio with not a lot of commitment. The fun for me ended after 2 years when I graduated from high school and entered the world of university.

Fast forward.

In 2014, I realized that my school had a dragon boating team. For fun, I joined, despite knowing that I would be away for 4 months in the beginning of 2015 for Co-op. I met a lot of people, but quickly lost contact once I left for Co-op. I came back in May 2015 and started paddling since then.

The last few years has really been a journey. From the numbing hands due to freezing winter water practices to aching muscles after gym workouts, we pushed each other to greater heights and opened doors to more opportunities. We supported and encouraged others to reach for higher and be more ambitious with our goals. This definitely showed and our hard work paid off. Between 2014 to now (2017), we went from 2 recreational teams to 2 competitive teams.

When I mean hard work, I really mean the amount of time, sweat, and no tears. From a commitment of at least one practice per week, we went to 2 to 3 days in the gym, 2 to 3 days of team practice and 1 day of outrigger 1 canoe. That’s basically training  everyday! . Sure, the amount of time spent in training seems like a lot and super rigorous to the world outside. But like I said, it paid off. And honestly, we don’t notice it anymore. It became our lifestyle. Now, not seeing my team for more than a week or a few days, makes it seem weird and gives me the feeling that something is missing.

Our first race is just around the corner and the biggest race of the year is coming up too. I’m excited to see what this coming race season and our fellow competitors has in store for us.