Written by Alex Tao
I started dragon boating around mid July, linking up with C.H.A.R.G.E and practicing with them almost every Saturday morning. Although it was grueling to wake up at 6 in the morning on the weekend, I still decided that I was going to make the commitment and try it out. Since I wasn't able to dragon boat last year due to my age issue, this year was my first year as a paddler at the festival. It was an amazing experience to compete in an actual race with my fellow REACH members. Although we didn't place, we were still able to make it into Division B, seeded at 24. It was impressive to see a team full of high schoolers take on teams that had professional dragon-boaters. At the final race I was approached by Anthony, one of the team captains, he told me that I was going to have to drum in the last race, something that I had never done before. Since a girl had not shown up and we had to keep the gender ratio balanced, the boat seating had to be moved around. I weighed light enough for them to choose me to be the drummer. I was really nervous in the beginning, but came to realize that being the drummer was actually quite fun. Overall, it was a good first time experience for me and I definitely plan on coming back next year!
Written by Tak-Kai Wong
Dragon boat is a great, fun experience that I would recommend to anyone! I paddled in REACH's 2018 Dragon Boat team for the Dragon Boat Festival/Asian Expo. Honestly, I was honored to actually paddle with the team. Dragon boat, to me, is a great way of keeping touch with my Chinese cultural heritage. Even so, everyone participating in Dragon Boat were friendly and helpful. Dragon boat, as a whole, taught me many new values that I would keep to heart. It taught me commitment and perseverance. Honestly, at the beginning of paddling, I was not a very good paddler. I'm still not even that great at it. But the feeling of passing the finish line, the feeling of wanting to accomplish a goal, is something that no one ever wants to forget. What's a better feeling than crossing the finishing line with your team? Rather than stick to the bottom, I loved the feeling of the team sportsmanship I encountered in Dragon boat. The teamwork in Dragon boat intrigued me. There was a variety of different characteristics in the people paddling for Dragon boat, but somehow, a group of teenagers from different schools banding together and synchronizing, utilizing their own strengths were able to create the REACH team. If given the chance to take up the paddle again and again, I would do it as many times as I am able to.
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