The story of a Turtle!
“It’s all about the taking part, not the winning” – true… unless you’re a turtle!
A group of people from different backgrounds, young and old, coming together six weeks prior to competition to raise money for a worthwhile charity – the Chinese Community Centre. Its a charity that is desperately short of funds but plays a pivotal role in the London community to help the privileged and underprivileged to integrate into the community. Many come from poor or unfortunate backgrounds but many see the community as an escape from the economic burden and stresses brought about in day to day life.
I have been to the Centre and noticed that many members are old folks who have been brought up in an Asian country (Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia to name a few) but ended up in UK due to work, family and many other personal reasons. Growing up in a time where multiculturalism was a new concept. They have not had an opportunity to shine for themselves, saving their money for their children to gain good education and prominence. We all have our personal stories but we all share in their history.
When Alex and Mai decided to organize this years 2014 CCC Dragon Boat team. It was a chance for our generation to represent their stories behind the charity. Through Alex and Mai’s leadership and efforts, they assembled a team. Not a team that looked threatening at first glance but still… a team. It turns out they were a great bunch of people who did not mind paying for their own training, turn up for training in miserable weather and after a hard days work in the office. Of course it was also a chance to try a new sport, steeped in Chinese heritage and tradition.
After a handful of training sessions, we were starting to see some results. Our timing was better but we still lacked punch and that va-va-vroom. But we did have numbers, over 30 willing participants, we also had smiles and laughter.
Come the day of the race.. we had our first glance of the bright green CCC Turtle T-Shirt. Some of the attire looked uncomfortably small and could double up as a wetsuit top. The usual race warm-up started and the customary pre-race chant …… ahhhh TURTLES. We were ready !
Heat One was good, no nerves and a straightforward win, clocking around one minute.. still our best time yet.
Heat Two was also good, similar race to heat one, with a win and also clocking around the one minute mark.
Heat three – a good, exciting race with a very close finish and clocking at a similar time.
The two best times allowed us to qualify for the final. The chopping and changing of the team had done its job and our group effort ‘beared fruit’.
We were not expected to win as two other teams from our category averaged faster times than us but we were undeterred.
Final Race – Rain started pouring but this didn’t dampen our spirits. We had a bad start, two boats surged in front but we kept our discipline and remembered the constant ‘sync’ and ‘reach’ drills performed in training, we started to gain momentum. ‘Come On!’ shouted our Pacer. ‘The Turtles are Coming!’ screamed the commentator over the public speaker.
The closest and most exciting race of the day was finally over.
Next… BDA London – 31 August 2014.
FOR INFORMATION ON JOINING THE TURTLES CONTACT THE CHINESE COMMUNITY CENTRE. We are currently undergoing training with the London Typhoon Dragon Boat Club.
Edited By: a turtle
“So, did we win ?
See photo at top of page!”