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Jun 7, 2016

Paddling as a Way of Life

Two months have passed since our Adelaide adventure, where we competed in the 10th Club Crew World Championships.  So what's been happening since, and what happens next??

First, it's important to CELEBRATE.  Competing in Club Crew Worlds was a huge effort.  The training, logistics and support from so many people is what made it a success, and it's an accomplishment to be proud of.  We faced so many challenges in our journey.  Each time we pulled through, growing stronger and stronger as a club.  During and in the weeks after Adelaide, we shared stories, laughed at the wacky videos and cherished the memories of the "good ol' days."  (But it doesn't have to stop there!  Today is the good ol' days, and we should continue to celebrate it!)

Second, it's important to BREATHE.  An endeavor such as a world championship takes a lot of both physical and mental energy to prepare for.  It's important to recognize the sacrifices you've made and address all the little things (errands, brunch dates with family and friends, basketball games) that you've told yourself you'll take care of "after Adelaide" (for me, that was finding an apartment!).  Hopefully everyone's had a chance these last two months to unwind and take care of all those things we had been putting off.

Third, it's important to GIVE BACK and GROW.  After all the blood, sweat and tears (from both paddlers and supporters alike), we don't want to just take the experience and run for the hills.  It's time to give back and grow as a team and as individuals.  This can manifest itself in many ways, from sharing experiences to simply setting an example by being a "model Space Dragon."  We all experienced this adventure in different ways - as a competitor, as a supporter, as the at-home-cheering-section.  All are valuable experiences that enrich this team and add to the copper pot.  Becoming a better team doesn't always have to involve extreme personal sacrifices to hit your next PR.  It also means developing our bench and learning from past experience, so when it comes time to press hard for the next competitive goal, we are ready.

What I've just described is Paddling as a Way of Life.  It's maintaining our fitness and athleticism while still having balance.  It's working hard to reach a goal, then teaching the new blood how it's done.  It's recognizing the importance of the connections and the people in our lives, remembering why we love this sport and love this team.  And when the time is right, we will again put the pedal to the metal and see what we can accomplish together.

We have two more opportunities to race in the 2016 season - Big Long Beach and Portland.  Portland is uncharted territory for Space Dragons, where we will have the opportunity to face teams we've never raced before.  Big Long Beach is expecting some fresh competition from the East Coast, bringing USA National Team paddlers right into our backyard.  We all know that greatness doesn't happen overnight - it takes several months of training and consistency.  What do you want to do with the rest of the season?  Master the technique?  Build up cardio and conditioning?  Strength train?  Mentor the next group of up and coming paddlers? (but remember to leave the coaching to the coaches!)  Only 3.5 months left to make a difference!