Paddle: Dragonboat Competition by the Bay

The Manila Ocean Park hosted its 1st Dragonboat Festival in 2008. Although a member of the Maharlika Drakon Team for several years now (I joined sometime in 2003), this was my first dragonboat race. I don't train regularly and through the years, I visited the team only when I want a cross training from my usual physical activities.

But when I signed up for the 3rd Boracay Dragonboat Festival, I couldn't let my team down and be a liability to them. So I trained with them three to four times a week three months before the race. Paddlers must be at the docking station in Manila Bay at exactly 5:30am. A minute late corresponds to an equal number of push-ups on top of the daily serving of two sets of 20. The training usually starts with a 45 mins land training which translates to 30minutes of jogging around CCP and PICC followed by stretching and strength routine exercises.
The Team in Blue
Two and a half months into training, the 1st Manila Ocean Park Dragonboat Competition happened. It was a grand event joined by different dragonboat teams within the metro, and worth highlighting was Team Camsur, which came all the way from the Bicol Region to dominate against the home based teams. The stronghold of the Manila-based dragonboat teams was defended by PNP Rowing Team but they too ultimately lost to Team Camsur.

Nothing like a good old peptalk and huddle to inspire the team to give it their best.

When I saw the videos of the race, It was evident how I was out of sync with the movements of my team. I had my oar a few seconds behind the rest of the team. This is particularly important to the gliding motion of the boat, which causes drag if any one oar is left still dipped in the water while the rest of the team had lifted theirs. I realized I would have to keep up with them in terms of speed and strength if I want to contribute in our race in Boracay. It was a great learning experience which taught me how to improve myself and utilize my skills and strength to contribute to the "TEAM". 

A bad first race won't bring me down.

Photo Credit: Cube

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