|The Purple Pirates practicing in |
the Hospice Garden, Captain Gary at the front!
"one of the most exciting and inclusive water sports as well as one of the fastest growing water sports that you can take part in world wide."
Our Captain and hospice Facilities Co-ordinator, Gary Pryor, organised a training session for us with Pershore Phoenix Dragon Boat Club over in Defford one evening after work. Four of us joined a team of 11 others, one at the helm and the rest crammed two by two along the 40ft vessel! Had we not done a thorough warm-up, I may have cramped up immediately as I sat down on the left with my hip tight to the edge, and my left leg awkwardly bending around and extending and my right one bent and pushing back on a small ridge under my seat. As we pushed off, I was trying to remember the three important instructions, my number (10), my buddy (11) and returning to the boat - this was in worst case scenario of capsizing! We had buoyancy aids as well so safety was well and truly covered!
After such an amazing training night, I felt sad that Pershore was so far away as their team spirit and hospitality was enough to make me want to join up to the club! I enjoyed chatting with the group about their different races and competitions and when I found out that a couple of members would be helping us out at the race, I was brimming over with confidence.
|The Village People claim |
their much deserved
best costume prize.
|Brooks the buccaneer |
- with a very large parrot(!)
I kept remembering the training session advice that, the strongest looking guys don't necessarily get that steady momentum going to successfully push the boat into the lead. We had some time to impart our knowledge of the training evening to the other Purple Pirates and we had a small training session from our more skilled crew members. We were really sad that our Captain, Gary was very poorly so couldn't make the race, but we quickly rallied round and recruited some extra crew members including a couple of our Young Ambassadors. I chatted to one of the Hospice at Home nurses who had been on-call during the night before and she had been called out in the early hours of that morning, so I couldn't help but feel total respect for her and that she was still helping our team! Di, our hospice's diversional therapist had created purple bandannas for the team and adorned with various pirate props, we were in the zone!
|The Shakespeare Hospice Purple Pirates, ready to row!|
We had two more heats to go, although where all the other teams seemed to get faster, with the one exception of 'The Village People' who dipped in the second round (but then made a spectacular comeback in Heat 3).... our team seemed stuck in a gear as our next time was only a fraction of a second better than the first time! The final race we were five seconds slower - as our desperation to finish on a high turned into sloppiness and our co-ordination melted as we saw the other team steam ahead! We said our final 'hip hip hurray' to the winning team and waited to spectate the grand final!
What an amazing site this was... six dragon boats lined up to battle it out in a furious race to the finish. There was no obvious team out of the six in the lead, and the dragons were almost neck to neck as they were cheered to the finish... but the results show really how close they were! All six boats came in at one minute and 10 seconds.... separated by fractions of a second!
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