Once upon a time, before actually applying to Ryerson University, I went on a campus tour. During the tour, our guide talked about all the events and committees she was part of with the school. Although most of them had to do with Graphic Design and her explanations failed to hold my attention from being awe-struck at how tall all of the buildings around me were, when she mentioned she was on the dragonboating team, my ears perked up and I stopped trying to see into a window 50 stories above my head. I found out that dragonboating was kind of like canoe racing and vowed that if I decided to go to Ryerson, I’d join the team. However, between then yesterday, life just kind of got in the way, and dragonboating joined the list of things like squash that I told myself I would try, but never actually did.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Judi, you can’t start a story with “once upon a time” and NOT give it a happy ending, it’s against the rules”! So fortunately, this tale doesn’t end here.
One of the other exchangees from Ryerson is actually on the school dragonboating team for real and had decided to join another league here in Singapore. They were hosting a newbie session, and she invited me to join. Excited to finally try the sport out, I jumped at the chance. During the session, we learned the proper technique for paddling and did a couple of leisurely strokes around the bay. After the session, I was feeling pretty proud of myself for keeping time during a 20-stroke set. Then, they announced that the actual team practise was going to beginning, and that I was welcome to join if I wanted (also bribing me with an invitation to a bbq afterwards). Feeling like a dragonboating champ, I agreed.
I was wrong. I was not a dragonboating champ. As it turned out, the newbie session was NOTHING like actual dragonboating. The word “leisurely” does not exist in actual dragonboating. When you’re actually doing the sport, you’re going full out, paddling for your life. We did 2 pyramid sets of 1 minute paddling, 1 minute rest, 2 minutes paddling, 1 minute rest… up to 5 minutes of paddling and by the end, my hands were so sore, I could barely grip the paddle, my back and shoulders refused to move, and even though I was sitting down in the boat, my leg had gone stiff. It was literally the most exhausting workout of my life, but the feeling you get when the boat’s in sync and you’re ripping past the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer is AMAZING!
(Along with chilling back for a bbq and some beers with the team afterwards as well.)