"Kick butt this year or I'll come back and we'll redefine what 'pain' is..."
Although I am taking an indefinite leave from the sport, I'm looking forward to hearing great things from the team this year. You've had an amazing 2009 season. Each year you just keep raising the bar, year after year, it's just amazing (it's been AWESOME to see the team grow for 8 seasons - should anyone had issues with me coaching go see Pearl, she's the one who forced me on the bow when we started). I know for some, this team started out as just "something to do to keep fit and stay healthy" but your competitive spirit has grown so much that now you find yourself racing against some of the strongest teams on the west coast - way to go!!! But personally, what I found more important is the ONE TEAM attitude - team camaraderie, your spirit to compete, the growth of the team (up to 3 boats in a tournament), its diversity and how much the team enjoys life together outside of dragon boating - you are definitely a ONE TEAM family!!!
I'm excited about the new stroke you guys will be using this year and I can't wait to hear how you will do in your first tournament for 2010, in Tempe... I hope everyone is training hard!!! Vets, just remember to be patient, listen to your coaches, work hard, find personal ways to help the team (personal workouts, helping the board, etc) and most importantly - encourage each other... you know the drill (live and breath it). Newbies, you will need patience as you get the hang of what it means to paddle as a team. I wish I could be there when you compete in your first race, you're going to find it an amazing experience and you'll see why we are so hooked on the sport - it's an amazing "2 minute rush" (that's the time I expect for SD ;-) Listen to your coaches, talk to the vets, and hang in there at practice - I know practice can be brutal but trust me it's all worth it (you'll definitely want more after your first tourney). For all, remember to put everything into that race you're preparing for, don't think about the other races - one race at a time, giving it everything you've got, and coming off the boat telling yourself - I GAVE IT EVERYTHING I POSSIBLY COULD, I HAVE NO REGRETS!!!
Space Dragons, let's continue the success that's been started with perseverance, determination and hard-work but not forgetting the fun and laughter that makes this team what it is - a great time being together!!!
I hope to see you on the water soon,