Saturday Sports: Part Two

So, when I left off, Jett's soccer game was finished and we were headed to watch Doc and his teammates.  Anyone guess Dragon Boat Racing as the sport?  Yea, I wouldn't have either. Doc got roped into being a member of his company's Dragon Boat team.  This is the inaugural year for the Dragon Boat Races in our area and 33 teams participated.  There were several different divisions: banking, hospitals, etc.  Doc's team was called the Bond Blasters.

Now, maybe you're thinking, "What the heck is a Dragon Boat Race?"  At least that was my response when he told me about it.  You can read about the history and it's real definition here, but to me, it's a really long canoe with a whole bunch of people in it.  The event was sponsored by Duncan Williams and the boats came with the event (I actually don't know who the belong to). During the week leading up to the races, each team was given an allotted hour and a half time slot to practice with one of the boats.  Because there were so many teams and only 6 boats, the races ran in heats of three.  Each team got to race in two heats, and then the 4 lowest combined scores competed in the finals.

I missed Doc's first heat, but Jett and I made it with a few minutes to spare for the second heat.  We watched from the mainland instead of going to the other side of the river where the event tents were.  That was a good call because we had front row seats and didn't have to fight any crowds.  I'm kicking myself, though, for not bringing my telephoto lens.  This would've been the perfect opportunity to use it.  Darn!  Maybe next year...

I'm so glad I saw Doc's uniform before he left the house; it made spotting his team much, much easier.  They're the group of little blue dots at the top of the hill in this picture.

When it was their turn to start getting ready, the filed down the boat ramp in their seat order.

This is about the time Jett looked up at me and told me he needed to use the bathroom and he needed to go bad.  We were sitting dead center on a grassy knoll with no bathrooms nearby, and every tree had someone sitting underneath it.  I looked to my left, looked to my right, and then decided eh, what the heck, and told him to go for it.

Boys have it so easy sometimes.

Back to the race.  The boat that Doc's team was going to use was now empty and ready for them.  Safety first though; they all suited up with life jackets.

Each team consisted of twenty coed rowers and a drummer in the front.  The oarsman in the back was provided by the event organizers.  Once everyone was in the boat, they pushed off and headed towards the start line.

In this shot, you can see the dragon on the front of the boat.  Doc is in the front seat on the opposite side.  When I told Jett that Doc was sitting up front, he thought it meant that he was the drummer.  That probably would've gotten Doc more cool points from Jett.

With a boat long enough to hold 22 people, it takes a lot of maneuvering to get turned around and lined up in the right spot.  There was lots of going forward and going backward and holding still until everyone was perfectly lined up.  While Doc's team waited, he gave us a wave.

Finally, it was time to get set!  If you look closely in this picture you can see that their oars are up as they wait for the buzzer.

And they're off!

According to Doc, the drummer beats out the rhythym of the two rowers in the front seat so that everyone else can listen and stay in sync.  I initially thought they were just there to provide musical entertainment.  My bad.

Doc had texted me after his first heat and told me they smoked the competition.  That made me nervous during this race because they seemed so close together.  It was neck and neck at first.

But slowly and surely, Doc's team started edging ahead.

The red ball in the water was the halfway mark.  This is where they really started taking over the lead.

Look at that reach!  That's my boy!

Here's a zoomed out shot so you can see the distance between the boats.

And the distance between their boat and the others grew and grew.

But that didn't mean they could take it easy.  The finals were based on the lowest combined times, so they had to go fast.  They kept those heads down and paddled!


To give you an idea of how long these races were, their winning times for their two heats were both 1:05.  Yes, a whopping one minute, five seconds.  I have a LOT of pictures for one minute worth of action.

Their combined score of 2:10 put them in the final race.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to stay for it but Doc says they had the 4th lowest time going into it.  Even though they bettered their time by one second and finished at 1:04, they came in 4th place in the final race.  But they won the banking division!  Woo hoo!

I have a feeling this is going to be a much bigger deal next year, especially since now there's a first place title to defend.  Maybe then I'll remember to bring my super zoom lens...