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Almost Within Our Grasp

12 Jul

I put off writing this because I didn’t want it to turn in to a rant, or a post with a lot of swearing lol Last weekend my dragon boat team raced in Nanaimo, BC. It was my first time racing in that particular festival, also my first time visiting Nanaimo. The festival was great (for the most part), and while I didn’t see much of the city the area I was in seemed to be filled with the nicest people ever! Seriously. Ever! πŸ™‚

the boats all tied up waiting for race day

the boats all tied up waiting for race day

Since Nanaimo is on Vancouver Island we all went over at varying times Friday. I had the day off, as did some others, so we went on the mid day ferry and had lots of time to explore the race set up, bits of the city, and take the littlest boat ever to Protection Island where we ate at a floating pub called The Dinghy Dock Pub…oh, and drank, there was definite drinking involved lol πŸ˜‰

Saturday our first race was early, ugh, we had a great race! Came in second place, with a time of 2:09 (I can’t remember the milliseconds, oops!). The water conditions were nothing like what I am used to. There were water planes landing alongside the race lanes plus a high level of wind plus in general just choppier waters so the waters were nowhere near as calm as what I practice and usually race in. Despite being in the outside lane (which means being farthest away from the race master and unable to hear what he was saying, and closest to the landing planes) we rocked it! πŸ˜€ It was definitely a race to be proud of, and we were!

The wind picked up so much by lunchtime that the second set of races for the day had to be cancelled due to safety concerns, sucky! I mean, we all understood but at the same time we reeeeeally wanted to race, we had such great momentum built up from that first race ya know?

We ended up hanging by the pool at the hotel then almost all of us went to Protection Island for visit number 2 at The Dinghy Dock Pub…to be fair, for most of them this was their first visit there lol. After dinner we went back to the hotel where we took part in a Jell-o shooter contest, oh and played Battleshots (think of the game Battleship, only the boats are large enough to hold shot glasses…wait for the awesomeness of this game to fully sink in to your head, yup, there ya go, *nods* πŸ˜‰ ). Basically, general partying ensued.

Battleshots! Girls vs Guys, and oh yah! Girls won! wOOt! :)

Battleshots! Girls vs Guys, and oh yah! Girls won! wOOt! πŸ™‚

Hey what can I say, dragon boaters practice hard, race hard, and party hard! lol

Sunday…hmm…Sunday is where the not so great part of the festival happened…

Our first race on Sunday was amazing! So great! We shaved off a second from our race time, we came in at 2:08, second place, this meant dun-dun-dunnnn we qualified for the medal races in Diamond Division! Oh yah babeeeee! πŸ˜€

Now, two of our paddlers had to leave early so we found two subs to take their places. This, for anybody who doesn’t know dragon boating, is normal practice. I have known boats at race festivals who had so many paddlers missing that over half the boat was filled with subs from higher ranking teams and they won medals because they basically stacked their boat. We were not looking to stack the boat, we were just two short, and are used to being in festivals where you can borrow paddlers. Our captain got two paddlers from a lower ranking team and voila we were covered!

Welllll, not so much, sigh. A person who I will do my best to not call a mean name decided to file an official complaint against our team for having people in our boat who were not on the roster. We didn’t know this till after we raced tho so picture this…We race our final race of the day, this is for the medal, everything counts! We gave it everything we had, we paddled hard, we came in third place, bronze! We won bronze! We were neck and neck with the boat that came in second place, we were apart by mere milliseconds! Milliseconds! Epic! We knew we won the bronze medal so we are cheering, full of adrenaline, totally stoked as we pull in to the dock, and that is where it ended…an official wouldn’t let us out of our boat, came over, explained about the complaint, blathered on about people in our boat who weren’t on the roster, and for me anyways, just kept talking while I sat stunned, soaking in what he was saying, wanting to shake my head and yell no and stomp my feet and cry, I knew the medal was gone, all that work, all those practices, putting everything we had in to that final race, and none of it mattered because one person was able to yank it away.

We were allowed to argue our side, our captain and our caller went and spoke with some of the officials while the rest of us stood in a group discussing, worrying, plotting revenge…in the end it didn’t matter. Turns out there was a rule for this festival about who can sub in for teams and we accidentally got subs who were not allowed. If the complaint hadn’t been lodged the officials would not have punished us, people had been getting subs for their teams all festival, it is one of those technicalities that is over looked by officials buuuuut if someone complains then the officials have to investigate and enforce the rules. They took our medal and get this, it got given to the team that had the lady on it that filed the complaint!…no bias there huh? What makes it worse is they were ridiculously slow in that race, Β 6 seconds behind us! Fyi, 6 seconds in a dragon boat race is huuuuge! It’d be one thing if it had been a close race, but we were so obviously better than them and yet, they got our medal! Grr!

The officials didn’t completely disqualify us, even though we didn’t get our medal we didn’t lose our placement within the festival, we ranked 11th out of 80 teams which is awesome! We just don’t have the medal to show off to people…I’m trying to not let this bother me overly much…

What gets me is, how can they be proud of their bronze medal? They didn’t earn it, they don’t have a race time that is deserving of it, they got it by complaining…I wouldn’t want a medal gotten that way. If I had gotten a medal that way I wouldn’t be telling anybody about it because I wouldn’t have earned it, why would anybody want a medal they didn’t earn?? *confused face*

After all that happened, not gonna lie, put a bit of a downer on the rest of the day, we went out to a pub (not the floating one) for dinner as a team, played some pool, basically we were trying to force ourselves to start putting the whole thing behind us, which I think was a good way to handle it. If we had all just gone our separate ways we’d all of individually stewed about it, this way, we talked about it a bit, decided how we would get revenge, and then helped distract each other from what happened. Team work! lol

Something kinda awesome happened on the ferry ride back to the mainland…a lady from a team I’ve never heard of, a lady who didn’t know us, had heard what happened, she came over to the group of us that were travelling back on that particular ferry together and she said she was impressed with how well we were handling things, she said it is was unfortunate that some people feel the need to be like “that lady who complained”, and said some other stuff about her being a poor sport an stuff. It felt good knowing that people who don’t even know our team, but who heard the story, think what happened was crap.

We almost had a medal, we were so close we could taste it, I swear I could already feel it hanging around my neck, but then, in a blink of an eye, it was gone. 😦 Even though it was taken away, I still feel as if we earned it. We had a race time that shows we earned it, and despite the disgrace of being stripped of our medal I am proud.

Proud of my team for racing so well that entire weekend.

Proud of my team for having race times that qualified us to race for medals.

Proud of my team for winning the Bronze medal in the Diamond Division (that is the second highest division in that festival).

Proud of how well we handled the drama of the medal being stripped.

Most of all, I am proud that since that festival we have had strong, solid practices, we have worked hard, we will work even harder next week, and then we will race in our next festival and we will be awesome! We will have fun! We will race hard! We will race smart! We will be a team to be reckoned with! (insert warrior cry here!) πŸ˜€

And that lady? She will be nothing to us but a story, a person to mock and pity because she is so unhappy in her life she has to go out of her way to try to ruin things for others. But ya know what? She didn’t ruin things. We are even more united as a team now, we are stronger, we have each others backs and what does she have? A medal that she can’t even feel proud of.

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