I joined a Dragon Boat team this summer. More dragons in my life. So you've never heard of dragon boating? Neither did I until I saw a postcard in my surgeon's office advertising a breast cancer survivor team. Dragon boating is a growing modern sport rooted in ancient China. A dragon boat is a 40' canoe powered by a crew of 22, one person to stear, one person to drum a cadence, and 20 paddling in unison. The canoe is adorned with a dragon head and tail and seats paired paddlers side by side in 10 rows. Each paddler must stroke free hand following the one in front. Each side must be in sync. Each paddle must lift their paddle and hit the water at exactly the same time. If not, paddles collide with clacking sounds, splashes and the boat does not move. It is much different than the rowing teams of those skinny kayaks with long oars attached typically seen on the rivers during regattas in the summer. I was not looking for this team or this sport, but it found me. I was nearing the end of the grueling part of my treatments that robbed my life of strength. I was welcomed as the new person and got into the boat with borrowed paddle and no experience. Sloppy and out of sync, I began to paddle attempting to keep my body moving beyond the desire to rest. Strength eluded me, but my spirit wanted to chase the next mile down the river. I was hooked. The new support group of total strangers knew I was hooked and that I would be back for more.
More photos from the weekend in NJ: