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Aug 30, 2012

2012 Big LB: Defending the Title
[aka, the Secret is in the Sugar]
[aka, Will We EVER Make Coach Brian Smile?!]

Ahhhh, Long Beach. Numerous teams gather here week after week to stretch, do land workouts, and paddle. Hundreds of dragonboaters spend countless hours enduring all sorts of weather, from unforgiving foggy chills to blistering summer heat. They hold volleyball games, fundraisers, time trials, and picnics. For all these teams, this marina is 'home.'

But only one team champions this beach...
The blue and beautiful Space Dragons were at it again, proving that last year was no fluke.

Okay okay, all annoyingly cocky playfulness aside [I swear we can be nice and humble peoples (Editors note: we are nice and humble people)]... HOW FUN WERE THESE TWO DAYS?! There was an ample flow of utter SPRIPPLENAUT<3 just oozing all over the place, and nowhere is that possible but right here at this wonderful location. We annoyed each other during warm-ups, napped all over the place, built sand fortresses, ate delicious grub, hit each other with thundersticks, and played ninja. Just like the one big happy fambly that we are.
Em needs moar bracelets!!!
We are IN-TENTS! [hyuck hyuck (sorry)] [Ed: No you're not]
Definitely some unique photo opportunities...
Cozy nap time~ zZzz~













Now on to the dragonboating...!

SATURDAY

The outstanding Open boat kicked off the team's day of racing in the second heat of the tournament. It was a beautiful  first place finish at 2:04.55, a solid four seconds ahead of San Diego, qualifying for Sunday's A Finals.

Next up, the lovely ladies! The Women's boat pulled off a second place finish with a time of 2:28.56, 3.5 seconds behind the crazy admirable Wasabi Power Surge. Obviously, undercover agents Joanna and Michiko weren't checking their boat as originally planned, but they are forgiven. Not to be outdone by Open, Women also qualified for the A Finals.

The mighty Masters boat plowed through in  second place [2:23.03], behind San Diego, qualifying for the A Finals.

Our wonderful White boat started off the team's mixed races, placing  third [2:35.44] behind KP Dragons and DragonMax 2, and then did it again with another third place finish [2:29.22] in their next heat.

Ravishing Red was up next, nabbing a grand first place with a time of 2:07.30, a hefty six seconds ahead of second place Aerodragons, also beating boats from Cal and Splashing Flyers. Two heats later, our brilliant Blue whizzed through to take  second [2:16.80] behind San Diego.

What do dis means? ONCE AGAAAAAAAAAAIN, rockin' Red and bashin' Blue found themselves going head to head. Heat 52 turned into one big Spacefest, and needless to say, both boats qualified for Division One Finals, with smokin' times of 2:04.72 [1A] and 2:16.33 [1B]. DIVISION ONE!!!1!!1!1zomg!!1

Soooo... basically, Saturday's heats went by in kind of one delicious, sugary, Twizzlery blur of top-three finishes for alllll our boats, with everybody qualifying for all sorts of finals taking place the next day. Woohoo, good job team!!

Sunday SUNday SUNDAY!

Big ole finals day, with a little bit of paddling for everybody~

With lots of bare skin and embarrassing tan lines -- the former as tradition mandates; the latter mostly just BK -- Open again starts Space's day. With some flailing chalked up to first race jitters, the boat took a teeth-grindingly aggravating second place [2:04.88], three-tenths of a second behind LARD. Silver.

Coach Brian was not pleased.
In the Women's A Finals, Space Ladies had a really terrific race piece, completely gelling and looking great. It may have been a close fourth place finish [2:25.05], but the boat was well-synced and beautiful! And got a whatever-metal-comes-after-bronze medal.

Coach Brian muttered that some men  could learn a thing or two from the ladies.

Masters nabbed another medal for the team in their A Finals, coming in fourth at 2:20.17.

White took on a handful of local Div 3 teams in their B Finals and finished fifth, just .2 sec shy of medaling!

Blue qualified for IB, and competed in a really tight race, pulling through with an admirable time of 2:20.74.

We lava you, T1 <3
And then it was time for Space Dragons Red to paddle in the IA Finals... from the boat, the way T1 was screaming at us [yanno how she do], you would have thought we were battling it out neck and neck for first place. But the boat crossed the finish a comfortable two seconds in front of LARD. Gold! And just for the record, that 2:04.04 was the best 500m time the team got this tourney. Noiiiiice!

Coach Brian swore he wasn't happy yet. But at least he'd stopped scowling.

The final races of the day were the 200m heats. All three of our mixed boats placed in the top three in their respective heats again [hoolay!], so I'm starting to think this team is pretty good. Red headed straight for the finals and blazed through in first at 0:49.94, edging out LARD's 0:50.57.
Zero eyes were in the boat. Sheesh. FOCUS!! It's a wonder we win anything at all -_-
[PS, I'm happy to report that SPACE HAD THE ONLY SUB-50 200M!!! Believe me! My eyes are watering from double- and triple-checking the results PFD PDF ^^]

I'm pretty certain I saw Coach Brian smile. <3 [Ed: he did, the proof is on video.  He even forgave Chris and Curtis]

HECKVA TOURNAMENT, SPACE DRAGONS!!!!

*calm again. Okay yeah. So, we got some medals...


... and there were the inevitable post-BLB dunktivities...
T1 gets a perfect score for this one!
James of the Sand, true form revealed.
Sorry Daniel, the blue suit will not save you.
O heyyy Devant, we just want a quick word...













... then we topped it all of with celebrations at KC Branaghan's!

Smiling faces and some well-deserved bar noms.

Big thank-you-soooo-much's to

Denise and all her many minions as tournament manager and for taking care of all the various logistics that pop up over the course of a tournament.

Blanca for handling all the equipment to make sure we had shade over our heads and chairs to put our many butts in--including for all of our orange clad friends from the northern yonder of the state.

Marina and Galen for making sure we had food in our bellies and plenty to graze on all weekend long.  Particular props for Marina for being a sport and driving to pick up all our tasty Vietnamese sammiches.

Steers for guiding our boats straight and true and safely.  And looking good the whole time doing it.

Callers for keeping us motivated and focused, with our heads in the game and our paddles deeply buried.

Photographers for capturing all the different moments and hijinks on film.  Without the aide of Tom L, Brian L, Eric, Joanna, Andy, Tyler, and Jeff, there would be far less photos and video form which we can produce our super duper recaps and videos!

Coaches for leading us to the promise land.  For making sure we put in our work and for making us want it more than anybody else on the beach.

And finally, in particular, a big thanks to Brian K. Exit stage left.   A lot of pressure has been squarely on your shoulders this season while other members of the staff attended to their responsibilities else where in the real world.  It may not have been the completely picture perfect story book ending to your coaching career (sorry, 5 gold medals don't just fall into your lap unless your last name is Phelps) but it was hopefully still a memorable way to go out with a bang.  Thank you for your time and effort this season especially, but also throughout all your years as a paddler and coach.  Congratulations to you and Aileen--we hear she's already a daddy's little girl.

Go big blue~!  And now...for some video action...