Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Day at the Races

Dragon boat races - for Rose Festival here in Portland today. Grady has been practicing with the Realty Trust team 3 times a week since March. That's three 7 a.m. times per week, I should add. Oh, boy, doesn't that sound like fun. But, he did it - never missed a practice except for the two that took place while we were out of town back when they first started. So, today was the first day of racing - two heats, one at about 11 a.m. and another at 3:30 p.m. Tomorrow morning they will race again - this time in a group of other boats that had similar times to theirs. If they win the first one, they race again and possibly a 3rd time. That's it - no vast monetary prizes, just the glory and prestige of winning.

Dragonboats are large wooden boats paddled (not rowed, I was informed) by 18 people plus a drummer and a flag-catcher. The ones used for the Rose Festival races here were given to Portland by our sister city in China, Kaohsiung. There are smaller boats without the decoration that are raced year-round.

I walked over from my gym for the morning race. Ian, Liam and Graham joined me to cheer on the Realty Trust Red Dragons in their first heat. Later in the afternoon, I walked over from the east side of the river and watched the afternoon race with their coach.

Ian's picture of the Red Dragons as they were coming in for their first race. Came in 3rd, but at least they beat the Victoria's Secret Team. (How bad would that be to say you were beat by the underwear team?) Grady is in the last seat on the right (OK, that's starboard, right?) side of the boat with the tan hat (which you really can't see.)

First place in a close finish for their afternoon heat. When the flag-grabber gets the flag, that's the official end.

Coach Sue pointing out that they hadn't done very well with the precision paddling in the second race, even though they won.

Grady listening intently, of course, to the coach's comments.
On the way back up after the 1st place finish.

About 85 teams in and out, using the same eight boats, all day long. It takes a system and they have one - very organized - always four teams lining up while another four are loading and another four are racing. Grady's team is heading down the ramp and out onto the dock for their afternoon race.

These gals looked more like my kind of team actually. Cheerleaders for one of the teams - complete with poodle skirts, heart-shaped sunglasses and little white canvas shoes. They had a full selection of choreographed cheers. I wonder what time of day they practice?

1 comment:

Dale said...

:-) Love the dragon boats!