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Jul 24, 2008

You know you've been a Space Dragon for a while when ...

As we are in the thick of the 2008 race season,
and with LB this weekend -
it's fun to take a quick time-out to look back & recall some old memories - & see how far we've come!

I'm definitely not the most qualified to do this (vets like Pearl, George, Jane, Yee, Tina, or Paul all would do a much better job) - but here it goes ...

You know you've been a Space Dragon for a while when ....

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Lifting the current dragon boats to & from the water @ practice is a piece of cake compared to shoving & dragging the old incredibly heavy Yellow Banana Boat (no handles) . Farewell, Panasia.

Paddling with the old shed paddles was standard, having your own wood paddle was too-cool-for-school, and those with carbon fibers must be Olympic paddlers or something like that.

Finding ourselves short paddlers for our one single boat at tournaments wasn't abnormal.
Fond memory: "Dude, we need another guy!" Cue all eyes simultaneously turning to poor CT, who had planned a relaxing beer-drinking weekend in Tempe.
I don't know if CT has forgiven Pearl since.

The idea of holding practice 2x a week was laughable & 3x was certifiably INSANE!

You recall the milestone day when the world-renowned Poi Pounders first jumped on the boat.
In between giggles, we all wondered whether we should be laughing this much at practice.
Coach Joe is still recovering from the stress-induced ulcer. Much love to our Pois :).


You shamefully recall when a few of us learned a first-hand lesson in Vegas about alcohol before racing, taking rides in stranger's luxury golf carts, & trying to hold each other up when we could barely stand ourselves. It made rebounding & vindicating ourselves the following year with victories in the city of sin that much sweeter.

Our competition regularly cowered in fear at our seemingly patented reverse caterpillar.
Don't mess!


You remember competing without a Caller - who needs 'em??
A select poor few, like Coach Em, admirably screamed out starts, power, finishes, etc while simultaneously furiously paddling. They're still gasping for air to this day.

Your face is still sore from smiling so much for the essential set of sponsor pictures @ at every team event. Go Captain Otomo!

Speaking of Myles & simultaneous yelling/paddling - if you were in the engine room in LB you remember not being able to hear our caller w/ all the ruckus in those heats. Mid-stroke Otomo valiantly volunteered to "echo" the "Power 10, now" calls. A wild & very desperate "Powhipoginknegheee" was all you heard, but hey, it got the job done.

You remember when Deadra was just an awesome cheering spectator & not the water-burning Goddess she is today. Word is she got tired of Ceez demanding sandwiches.

You participated in our very first Christmas Lights parade, where we were kinda of mercilessly booed by elementary aged children for having our lovely Christmas lights go out mid-parade due to a dead battery. But hey, it was fun chucking hard candy at those demanding lil' suckers.

Strong paddling technique entailed breaking at your waist and lunging forward-&-back as far as possible. Rotation-smotation, who needs it?!

You remember that being sponsored, while awesome, also meant regularly hiking across Space Park, posting & de-posting fliers for THE MAN.

You own a Kona Brew T-shirt & Lizard-bottle-opener-key-chain.

You know that Portland '08 wasn't actually the first time we met Kai Ikaika.
The first time was years ago, when we valiantly(?) entered our youngster boat into the PDBA championships in LB, and subsequently had them & other strong teams graciously show us the true definition of 'open water' :).

You recall being fueled by the amazing, passionate calling of Gio.
Maybe it's not right, but you smile when you remember,
"Who's old NOW, M*^&%#$^^@^r!!!".


You couldn't help but blush while paddling (and this is probably inappropriate for our younger POSERS - don't read this paragraph, guys) whenever our valiant Captain Rick would encourage us with "LOOONG & HARD! LOOONG & HARD!! DEEPER! LOOONG & HARD!!" calls @ practice.

You know that the fearless founder of the team, the lovely Donna (Pearl's "mom"), is currently living Aloha style in Oahu.

Your first ever Circle of Love, among other things, featured tough-guy Jack opening wobbly-pop bottles with his eye socket. Not kidding.

You were SHOCKED when you discovered AJ & Janet weren't an item - one year or so after they started paddling.

"Dragon-what?! Huh??" was the response you got when you would explain what you did every Saturday morning. Hmm. Maybe still the case. But hopefully less so nowadays.

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We've come a long way!

We've been fortunate to be able to continually add to a solid foundation built on these experiences & memories - & now, here we are today, ready for LB w/ 3 mixed boats, full masters, mens, & womens boats, & so many enthusiastic new faces that are already such huge parts of the team.

As always, LB represents a great chance to go head-to-head w/ great competition, let it all hang out, & show ourselves & the larger community how hard we've trained & what we're made of. But even more than that, it simply is a great opportunity to continue to add to a long list of fond & fun Space Dragon Family memories & traditions that we'll all have for a long time!

And remember that the beautiful thing is that despite our quick & continual growth, achievements, & improvement over the years - we're not done yet. We're no where near a finished product, we're still a work in progress w/ so much potential & a bright future.
This fun ride is only going to continue - and we'll always do it our own unique way.

So whether this is your 7th LB tournament (Jane!) or your very first - we really hope you're excited & pumped, and be ready for a fun time!

SD Love,
W