After a fun & competition-filled weekend, I just feel happily obliged to chronical a wonderful weekend in SF for our future references & for those that couldn't attend this time around. What a way to end what has been such a rewarding, fruitful, and just happy season (Season-end Recap Blog coming later!).
Check back again later for additions to this posting, as we'll add more pictures/videos & some more details soon!
Also check out the final race results available on http://www.sfdragonboat.com/!
A few highlights of our weekend, per day:
The weekend events started right with a strong Space Dragons turnout at the Friday Paddler's Party/Happy Hour. In typical SD fashion, our folks had a great time meeting, laughing, and just being happy with other paddlers. Believe that Tammy in particular had a great time 'meeting' fellow female paddlers, with photos to boot (can't wait to see!). And congrats to Ed for scoring a big win at the raffle!
- Simply having two mixed crews (RED & BLUE) participate in an away tourney - a first time for our team. A testament to the growth of our team & dedication of our members. Thank you & lets keep it going & growing!
- Galen came through in his much anticipated delivery of flowers to not only the lovely Ripple ladies but to our raveshing Space ladies as well. Although ... he may have jumped the gun by not saving one for his new-found Ripple Soulmate/Twin, Brendan (aka improved version Galen 2.0). More below.
- RED starting the tourney off right w/ a strong 2nd place finish behind only a blazing Merrill Lynch BAD crew, which guarented us a spot in the competitive bracket, where we wanted to be. Our 2:10:65 time was good for 4th best overall out of 54 crews in the first round!
- BLUE's dominant 1st place (first of a few) victory in their 2nd heat, securing them a featured spot in the Rec A division. With perfect timing & steady, strong & long pulls, the crew responded well to requests for full extension & long pulls & bested their already-solid first round performance by 6 seconds!
- RED's display of true champion spirit in our 2nd heat, where tough currents & our lane assignment contributed to a scenic detour off-course (away from & w/o impeding the other crews). Despite an enjoyable tour of the bay waters, at no point did we lighten up, as we paddled our best as our steer was skillfully able to get the oar to bite & correct course, allowing us to creep back into the thick. Despite a 6th place finish that was just seconds behind the middle-placing crews, we are incredibly proud of the composure displayed - never quit in a race, show pride, & paddle hard unless otherwise stated by our caller & steer. This grit was ultimately rewarded with RED's invitation to paddle in the Visiting Team Speciality races on Sunday, which were based on averages of Saturday's times.
- Our phenomenal GENDER teams' performances in the ultra-competitive gender races, where BOTH our RAVESHING LADIES and STUDLY MEN had incredibly strong 3rd place finishes just a tiny ~half a second behind the heat's 2nd place finishers (where 2nd was required to advance to Sunday):
- The RAVESHING LADIES finished with the 5th best time (2:24:58) out of 18 incredibly strong women's teams! This heat was the most exciting I've been on as a caller for the ladies, as we stayed right with heat winners DW down the stretch while battling tooth & nail against a strong OWL Dragonfly team from Oregon (who competed as an all-women's team throughout the weekend). Our ladies gave it their all and responded to calls in such a positive & strong manner, w/ grit, unity, endurance, & power. We played see-saw w/ the OWLs at the finish, and they got the last stroke in and the well-deserved 2nd place. So much to be proud of ladies!
- The STUDLY MEN finished off the exciting Saturday and repeated the same excitement, drama, and thrills of the women's race in our duel with a powerful Dieselfish team down the stretch for 2nd place behind BAD. Adrenaline & a whole lot of testosterone (& some hilariously funny comprehensive sentences from my bench mate BDizzle!) pumped through the boat. The guys fought incredibly hard & gave everything they had left to finish the day strong (some even cite "having everything turn white" (Gman)).
- Following a fun day of racing, ~50 of us strolled on over to Osha Thai for dinner. Many many thanks go to our team Social Coordinator, Janet, for planning the big feast. In typical SD fashion, we had a good time while being probably a tiny bit too rowdy for the establishment's tastes. And lets just finish the recap of the night saying the chef/inventor of their Banana Balls dessert probably never intended for them to be consumed in such a provocative manner...
- Thanks to a back-to-back race heat conflict with our Masters Race and our Visiting Team Race for RED ... an internal Space Dragons challenge was thrown down: Youngins vs the Geri-crew (as Janice likes to say), based on heat time.
- I will provide only the following:
- The Geri-crew resorted to intimidation, with a very dominant 1st place victory in their heat. All of us youngin's were so incredibly loud & proud as our old folks kept it strong & together all the way through the finish. It really was a sight to behold, great job to our very strong Masters. You are an inspiration.
- Great job to first-time caller Samantha leading her Pops & his cranky friends to the victory! You did a great job (use those caller's pipes next time Pops nags you to clean your room!). Samantha did so well we threw her onto the Youngin' boat to replace a certain Anvil-100%-pure-muscle-155-pound-dashing-caller-who-will go-unnamed at the last possibly moment before setting off.
- The Youngins fought hard in their heat & against the clock, with bragging rights in mind. Despite a galiant effort, we will end this portion of the recap by saying that for now, it looks like the Youngin's are probably in for some "oh goly gee whiz, my eyes are going a lil bit bad in my advanced age but i could swear our numbers seem a little bit lower" type-chirping. At least until our rematch at practice ...
- BLUE continued their eye-opening run through Sunday & proved to be incredibly strong finishers. Blue kept our magical 2007 season run of hardware at every competition complete w/ a strong and convincing 1st place finish in their final race of the season to earn the Rec A Consolation Victory! Blue made Space Dragons everywhere proud with not only their award-winning journey over the weekend - but also via the fact that they were able to correct minor issues each day to have a significantly stronger, cleaner, & faster 2nd race than 1st race each day. Great job, BLUE! For those that have not received your lovely & heavy medals, please plan on coming out to our Training & Recruiting Season kick-off (10/6/07) to be duly awarded!
- RED continued their journey in the Comp B bracket & were delighted to see that our competition included none other than one of our beloved host teams (more below), Verizon Wireless Ripple Fast. What would be more ideal than to finish 1-2 in the heat? And Space/Ripple did it, as we eeked out the narrow & glorious 1st place win by .23 seconds (setting up a rematch in the championship round)! Great job, RED!!! And BIG-TIME congratulations to Ripple Fast, who ran a typical blazing heat in the championship round, leaving everyone behind them to secure the Competitive B Championship Victory - go Ripples! And great job to RED for a great run at the tourney - we've come so very far, arrived, & we have such vast potential for more. Lets keep it rolling!
- After a great & long weekend of paddling ... only one competition remained. The first-ever Ripple-Space Boat Race. Thanks to some amazing chugging by folks like Bigtime Lewis & I'm-thin-but-I-like-Apple-Juice Wade ... ok, who are we kidding ... thanks to some big-mouths & wide throats of folks like Janet, Janice, Galen, & awesome anchor Alex, Space Dragons were able to take home the Boat Racing victories! Rematch - Long Beach?
- It's also been reported that some of our juice-loving paddlers successfully represented not only Space & Ripple, but the entire U-S-A, in a stand-off against some intimidating Canadian chuggers. Damn straight!
Finally...to top off a wonderful weekend (and this recap) ...
We are incredibly pleased & fortunate to now be associated with Ripple Effect as Sister teams!
We've had such a wonderful time meeting the Ripples in Long Beach & again over the weekend, & we couldn't help but to admire Ripple for just getting "it" - always having fun together as a family, spreading their Ripple Love, and maintaining the ever delicate balance of fun & competition.
Cheers to continued fun, coordination, competition, and unity for the future!
And in regards to the Brendan/Galen love fest ... never before have we witnessed such an ... interesting ... butt-to-butt stretch-off. May we continue to be blessed with continued collaboration in the future ... well, perhaps this is pushing it a wee bit too much!
- Note to Ripple Coaches: We would be very interested in a one-for-one trade. Just kidding, Galen. (but let us know, Ripple...)
Special thanks for the weekened go to:
CDBA & their volunteeers for a well-run, organized, fun, and paddler-focused tournament!
Verizon Wireless Ripple Effect for such awesome hospitality & Ripple Love!
Denise for general coordination (with Ripple, lunch orders, black ribbons, etc.)!
Janet for planning a fun-filled Saturday Night Dinner!
Mark for making the trip up & capturing excellent video coverage!
Lil Lui for the thoughtfulness & passion expressed via a good luck postcard sent to the hotel!
Joe, Rod, Galen, & Marty for team equipment transport!
Yilin & Felicia N for such good team dedication & making it up for one day each!
Ripples Tina, Leslie, & Gary for paddling w/ us for some exciting specialties!
Space Dragons & Ripples for sharing all the pics (including those on this blog)!
And finally, welcome & GREAT JOB to new Space Dragons competitors:
Alex, Arlene, Felicia C, Jim, John, Julian, Kameron, Liz, Megan, Ron, Samantha, & Shizuka.
You folks did great this weekend - keep coming out, the 2007 Training & Recruiting Season is just around the corner (10/6/07)!
SD Love & Pride,