Monday, September 30, 2013

Dragon Boat Racing: A Rising Team Sport

 I've seen Dragon boats before and enjoyed the colorful nature of the boats gliding across the water in exotic places in Asia. But, I was surprised to learn that it is now one of the fastest growing sports here in America and a race was being held in my city. I always welcome a chance to get a little sun and if I am able to take along the camera, then it really becomes something special. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

I arrived at the Jacksonville Landing to find the various teams in arm straining practice on the St Johns River as they prepared for their specific race. Watching the groups it became easy to understand why the sport is growing... it is work that is just plain F-U-N. Their I said it, the magic word: fun!

Unlike rowing in the Olympics, Dragon Boat racing does not require loads of experience, and getting together once or twice a week allows people to interact with others, develop stroke rhythm,  and most important group spirit. Throw in a touch of whimsy as coxswains can have all manner of headdress and I could see myself laughing with each stroke.

Competitions have taken place annually for more than 20 centuries in parts of China, but dragon boat racing has emerged in modern times as an international sport, beginning in Hong Kong in 1976. Little by little the sport has spread over this country as more people like me are drawn to the team/fun aspect. I noticed several companies have gotten into the act and developed their own teams

If your team did pretty good in your competition, a line of congratulation was formed to high-five  each member for their work in the effort. I really liked this team. They really had spirit.

They had a pretty great Coxswain headdress as well. 

There were trophies that made the heart pound for the more competitive,

and champagne toasts for the group that stuck together to enter the race. 

There is so much to love about the sport...

especially when you consider it was a beautiful day, that offered a chance to ride down the St Johns River, under your own steam with a group of friends.