Not Multicultural Festival

20 Feb

The following post has been written by our friend Kieran – our second guest blogger! Kieran blogs about politics and whatever else grinds his gears on his own blog, here.

As a guest blogger I feel the need to be a bit edgy and boldly declare that I did not go to the multicultural festival.

This is, of course, a complete lie. I did go (four times). Somewhere in between the first and second visits though,I paddled as part of a corporate team in the Chinese New Year Dragon Boat Regatta.What better way to justify eating myself into

DEEWR team members (who were not already gorging themselves at Multicultural Festival) with trophy

a food coma for the rest of the weekend?

But, just how does one end up with such a brilliant justification? I’ve yet to hear of anyone being born in a dragon boat, so that leaves achieving it (stumbling across the CDBA website) or having it thrust upon you (by friends and co-workers trying to make the numbers for a team).

With ample cajoling from my colleagues, I managed to make it to one out of the two training sessions before the regatta. Two would have been better but one is plenty; dragon boating is both deceptively hard and deceptively easy. Even one training session is enough to learn the basic movements, rhythm and calls; however, it takes hundreds of hours to perfect.

In a corporate regatta everyone is in basically the same boat as you (pun very much intended). While each boat has a couple of experienced paddlers to set the pace and keep rhythm, and an experienced ‘sweep’ to steer the boat, everyone else is almost completely new to it. So, if your rhythm is a bit off it doesn’t matter that much. In the boat, a race might feel like an eternity but in reality a 200m course takes about sixty seconds – all up it’s very doable, regardless of fitness level.

At a corporate regatta (provided you don’t sink – I’m reliably informed this is uncommon) you are almost guaranteed a spot in the finals. This was especially true last weekend with 17 teams competing for 18 slots! The teams themselves were a reasonable cross-section of Canberra, which is to say demographically skewed and largely public servants, with teams from DEEWR (me!), DIAC, Finance, ACT Environment Directorate, the US Embassay, Canberra Imaging Group and many (11) more.

After two heats our team made it into the C-division finals where we went on to put in our best time of the day and claim third place and ninth overall. It was a great result but it’s a bit beside the point: corporate regattas are all about having a good time and trying something new. The Chinese New Year regatta ticked those boxes. It  was also well organised – which made for a marked improvement on the previous regatta (Dragons Abreast)!

I don’t have an awesome (oarsome?) heart rate monitor like T1 but you can check out a video of us in the finals (in the navy tops):

Attendees: Kieran and colleagues.

Where: Lake Burley Griffin (Yarralumla Yacht Club)

When: Saturday 11 February

Worthwhile: Yes, if you can get a good group together and aren’t too fussed about winning

Want more: This was the last corporate regatta until Spring, the clubs paddle year round though, a list can be found on the Canberra Dragon Boat Association website.

Kieran blogs about politics and whatever else grinds his gears on his own blog, here.

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