Why I Entered a Dragon Boat Race

Have you ever been asked a question that stopped you in your tracks? That made you go “Hmmm?”

Last month’s story, The Year of “Hands On” Living, was about my decision to live this year “Hands-On” ….. where I would be willing to make a greater effort to be truly involved with life… not just sitting back and watching …..but to be willing to take chances and make a few messes….. and maybe, in the process, to share my heart with those around me.

This new attitude was due in part to spending 2016 and 2017 in the “waiting” mode….. waiting in 2016 as I went through the process of building a new life in a new home in a new community after my fiancé abruptly ended our engagement and then waiting in 2017 for my hip surgery so I could become physically active again.

After I shared my story, a friend responded with these thoughts… “Love it and truly believe it is a great approach to life. I just read an article that challenged me…..”

At that point she shared a question from the article that stopped me in my tracks…. and it was…

When was the Last time that you did something for the First time? 

As I pondered that question, I realized I did not have a good answer. The only first-time recent event that I could think of was having hip surgery in January…..but I don’t think that really counts.

The question kept spinning around in my head….

 When was the Last time that I did something for the First time?  Or put in another way…when was the last time I did something and amazed myself….. where I could say with some pride….”dang, I did that”.

 I am now looking for “first times”. This does not have to be dramatic as in the first time I climbed Mt. Everest or went sky-diving (they will never be on my first-time list!!)  My “first-time” could be simple such as going to my favorite Italian restaurant and NOT ordering the manicotti but instead trying the Snapper Francaise … or perhaps…..not going to the Italian restaurant but trying the Korean Bar-be-cue place instead.

In short, to live this year where I make an effort to get out of a rut and try something different….. to be open to new challenges…. to have “first-time” adventures.

All this to explain why I will attending the 2nd Annual Acworth Dragon Boat Race and Festival on Saturday May 5th—not only will I be attending the festival but I will be a paddler in a dragon boat with 19+ other Cobb County staff as we race against the City of Acworth and other challengers.

Don’t know what a dragon boat race is? Well neither did I!

So, put on your imagination glasses and visualize colorful 40-foot long boats with the head and tail of a dragon on each end, filled with 20 paddlers, a drummer, and steersperson competing in a high energy race on the water. The Acworth Dragon Boat Race and Festival is a fun filled family event put on by Loving Arms Cancer Outreach, Marietta, and Dragon Boat Atlanta, a Breast Cancer Team, to support cancer patients and survivors.

Now, you may wonder—just how did I get involved in this? I certainly did not wake up that morning and say “Hmmmm  I think I want to be a part of a dragon boat race.” I was simply attending a meeting representing the team captain who could not be there. I was to attend the meeting, listen, take notes, and report back to him.

Yet, as I listened to the presentation, the phrases from the “stop me in my tracks” question kept floating around in my mind…… when was…. the last time.….the first time?

Many of the attendees in the meeting were cancer survivors and their enthusiasm was contagious —their stories were filled with courage and grace and grit.

I am not coordinated and the one of the few times I tried to paddle a canoe it got stuck on a rock and went around in circles….. and here I was considering being participant in an event where I will have to sit in a narrow boat with 19+ other people and try not to fall out and try not to hit myself in the head with my paddle….. and oh, by the way, try not to hit the person next to me….

Those who know me well also know these are real challenges for me.

And yet as I sat there—listening to the words of great courage and hope spoken by others about their journey—their battle with cancer—I realized I cannot write words in my blog about this being a “Hands-On” year if I sit on the sidelines and merely watch. I need to be a participant where I can show support for others and live with a true enthusiasm for life.

So, if you happen to be in Acworth Georgia around 10 AM on May 5th then please check out the Cobb County dragon boat—it will be the one carrying a somewhat uncoordinated blonde who will be trying to paddle swiftly without hurting herself and others near her.

But I will be there. I will proudly add “dragon boat race” to my list of “First Times” for 2018.

So……what about you, dear reader….when is the Last time you did something for the First time?

And….. if you don’t like the answer….. what are you willing to do about it?


For more information:

2nd Annual Acworth Dragon Boat Race and Festival

TIP: make sure your cursor is not over the pictures–that will pause the slide show. http://www.acworthdragonboatfestival.com/photos.html


ICF Dragon Boat World Championships –  

Will come to the United states for the first this this September at Lake Lanier – Check out the calendar and pictures – http://www.lanierdragonboat2018.com/schedule/


Video: Dragon boats Atlanta

Dragon Boat Atlanta is a group of breast cancer survivors and supporters who want to increase awareness of breast cancer, who share the belief that there is quality of life after breast cancer, and who believe exercise plays an important role in helping to achieve the highest quality of life.





2 thoughts on “Why I Entered a Dragon Boat Race

  1. What an adventure and what a wonderful challenge for yourself!! We’ll be in Chicago that week; otherwise I’d be there cheering you on and supporting such a wonderful cause.

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