“Do we have alignment?”
A focused silence falls across the boat, and the air goes electric.
“Drummers, are you ready?”
Deep breaths in.
It’s hard to capture the excitement that runs through your body, throughout your limbs and down your back, when you’re at the starting line of a race. In a single moment, you sort of forget the training that you pushed yourself through all quarter, and it becomes a part of you. It becomes instinct.
The Arizona Dragon Boat Festival is the event that our team regards as our peak each year. After spending 10 weeks never believing we were doing enough – sometimes believing we weren’t enough – and training harder for it, we came down to Tempe with a mindset of simply doing the best we could. And much to our surprise, both of our boats, new and veteran, got into division A.
It was an enormous accomplishment, for our new boat to have left our fall race in NorCal, College Cup, near the bottom of C division, and then to have ultimately raced alongside our veteran crew in the A division semi-finals (and to end up only a few seconds behind)! And for our veteran crew to take gold in A division and beat out our biggest competitors, UCLA and UCI, for the first time in a few years felt, in a single word, surreal.
Undoubtedly, this Tempe race was the best way to end our quarter: seeing how much our new crew had come, ready to become official veterans themselves, and seeing our veteran crew realize how strong of a crew they actually are.
Some last words from our current president, before the end of his term:“Both of UCSD’s crews have come a long way from the beginning of the year. No other college team had such a dramatic improvement since Fall. After College Cup I said that fate is yours to change if your actions speak louder than your words, and you all delivered. We’ve shown the rest of the competition that we represent every bit of the pride, tradition, and passion in our name.”
Here’s to the continuation of our legacy as UC San Diego Dragon Boat.