Maybe it’s the time of year, but I've been thinking a lot about teamwork lately.
Some pro teams start their seasons now (go Birds!) and kids go back to their schools and sports, or maybe it’s because our dragon boat team is preparing for its annual festival competition. For those unfamiliar with dragon boating, it’s an ancient sport started in China over 2500 years ago (!) and a dragon boat looks like a long canoe. Ours holds 20 paddlers in ten rows with room for a drummer in front, to keep time, and a steersperson in the back.
Our team, “Fierce,” is comprised of twenty-three amazing and strong women who come from diverse backgrounds and abilities. Each team member has a specific role on the boat, be it at stroke in the front, in the middle as an engine, or toward the back as a rocket. There’s a forty-year age span on our boat including two generations of one family (soon to be three!) It's essential we work in perfect harmony to get to the finish line since no one person can move that big boat. Timing is everything on a dragon boat and when twenty of us get on that boat we function as one.
At a recent practice, after we’d warmed up and paddled out to the middle of the lake, our coach passed out bandanas and asked us to blindfold ourselves. He wanted us to listen to each other and really feel the boat instead of relying on our eyes. In other words, we needed to trust each other. We all chuckled, skeptical that we wouldn’t click paddles or that our timing wouldn’t be off, but video he took of us during those 10 minutes we were blindfolded showed us paddling in perfect time! Talk about teamwork.
Here’s a look at a recent race we paddled in Mays Landing, NJ. We typically compete against all-female boats, like ours, but in this qualifying heat we were pitted against two mixed (male/female) teams stocked with some very young paddlers. We’re in the middle in boat #2:
Pretty neat, isn't it? If you’re in the Bucks County area on Saturday, September 21, stop by Core Creek Park in Langhorne and watch us race in the annual Bucks County Dragon Boat Association festival. Over fifty teams will be competing to “Paddle Out Hunger” and I guarantee you’ll enjoy watching. Admission is free, there’s plenty of parking, and we’re racing for a good cause. I’ll know our team’s schedule closer to festival date so feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Whether in the office or on the gridiron, field, or lake, make sure you’re pulling for your team.