The following submission was made as an entry to win a OC1 from an amazingly generous donor, who wanted to see the canoe truly enjoyed, rather than turn a profit. Entrants were asked to submit an essay answering the following:
- Part 1: “Describe how paddling has changed your life.”
- Part 2: “How do you plan to use this canoe, and perhaps someday pass it along?”
Lindy Chen, California
In the June 2015, I had my first dragon boat practice ever after my friend, who was the captain of the team I was at the time, convinced me to go. I had no idea what this sport was before I joined and I was fascinated by all of the teams practicing and all of the boats on the water. We warmed up on the land by doing a few exercises and then after spraying a bunch of sunscreen on myself, we loaded onto the boat. The next day, I woke up SORE. I could barely walk down the stairs at my house since I barely exercised before I joined dragonboat. Although the few practices were honestly quite painful at first, I stayed in the team because of the friends I made there and how nice it felt to paddle on the water. Race day finally came and our spirits were high. We got our final pep talk by our coach at Big Long Beach and went on the water. The adrenaline that rushed through my body was amazing. Although it was the fastest 3 minutes of my life, those 3 minutes proved that all of our practice was worth it. These 3 minutes inspired me to continue dragon boat for the next three summers of my high school life and as these summers passed, my passion for this sport grew. However, I didn’t realize how strong my passion was for dragon boat until I joined the team at UC Riverside.
I joined Riverside Surging Dragons last Fall as a first-year and I soon realized how different college teams were from high school. We practiced more frequently and even met up on the weekdays to gym together. I was introduced to the perg, and later on the OC. Everyone was motivated and performing at their best and I gained this new motivation I didn’t have in high school. I found myself doing extra purging sessions and I began learning how to use gym equipment. One day, my former captain, Preston Chu, released a sign up sheet to our team for his OC. As someone who couldn’t swim, I was scared to go to these OC practices and held off signing up for them the entire Fall Quarter. Eventually, after a lot of anxious questions about the OC and team members assuring me that it wasn’t scary at all, I signed up for my first ever OC practice in Winter Quarter.
My first time on it was probably one of the scarier things I have done in my life. I was shaking the entire time and I was too scared to go to the chanel I didn’t want to go too far in case I fell off and couldn’t get back up. I began signing up for every opportunity that was possible and soon enough, I found a liking to OC practice because it helped me focus more on my personal technique and gave me a lot of time to fix mistakes that I couldn’t do on the boat. Everyone who has paddled on the OC on our team has given positive feedback on it. Although I only have a few months of experience with the OC, I realized what an important impact it has made on our team.
Unfortunately, Preston graduated this year and our team doesn’t have an OC to practice with anymore. Our board has talked about purchasing one before, but we simply do not have enough funds to support it so when I saw this generous Facebook post about an OC contest, I knew I immediately had to enter. If I were to win this canoe, I would donate it to our team to use. We would have OC signups again, allowing my fellow teammates to have more time to practice on the water and strengthening our team as a whole. Using an OC has become an essential to our team and has helped us a lot. We all have this shared passion of paddling and growing ourselves in the process - I know everyone in the team would love to be able to use an OC again.
Without the team Riverside Surging Dragons, I would have never been able to challenge myself this much while enjoying all of the times we practice on the water with my teammates.
My teammates mean everything to me and we constantly inspire each other to work harder and to always do our best. We are not just a team, but a family. We hang out outside of practice and these people have not only taught me how to paddle better but also life lessons that I will utilize for the rest of my life. We are a community part of a bigger community that is full of immense support and love. Dragon Boat has given me life-long friends and helped me find a passion not just for this sport but exercise in general. I never would’ve thought that I would be doing this sport for more than 4 years and I know that I will continue doing it. It has impacted my life so much and honestly, I can’t go a day without thinking about it. My team would love to have an OC and I know they would appreciate this gift very much. Thank you so much for your generosity and for giving everyone this opportunity. Additionally, thank you for taking your time in reading all of these essays! I promise that if we win this contest, we will take proper care of your OC and pass it along to the next generations of our team.
Thank you so much for generosity in donating your OC.