1st Los Angeles Dragon Boat Festival | Aug 18
|LARD Leon||Best Twelve D Final||1st||1:16.95|
|LARD Megan||Best Twelve A Final||1st||1:11.44|
|LARD Otto||Best Twelve D Final||3rd||1:17.63|
|LARD Scott||Best Twelve B Final||3rd||1:14.94|
Leon Cheng (Sept ,2012)
The first annual Los Angeles Dragon Boat Festival at Lake Legg was a first in many ways.
1. With help from LARD leadership and other members of the the Long Beach community, SCDBC hosted its first all ten-man race, debuting at the scenic park of Lake Legg in South El Monte. Large freeway billboards were prominently featured in promoting the event.
2. As a new format race and given the setting and friendly competition, this non-target race replaced, for this season, Camp Dragonboat (Lake Arrowhead of the same weekend), a perfect opportunity to unleash the first-ever, coaches' favorite, and frankly, fiercest and most intimidating naming convention ever assigned to a LARD-rostered boat - LARD Scott, LARD Otto, LARD Megan, and the best for last, LARD Leon!
3. With four equal (on-paper) ten-man teams, it provided the structure for a fun competition between the coaches to apply their skills in calling the boat and in super-secret strategy review sessions to gain competitive advantage over the others.
And how did the weekend turn out? LARD Megan represented in the A Finals; Scott in B. And me, leading our boat into the finals of group D, my steely gaze fell across the other three boats. The two Electric Dragons were all but invisible as my eyes locked on LARD Otto. Who did this upstart youngster of a coach think he is?! As the most senior (number of seasons) coach in our staff, all my coaching eggs lay in this basket. Turning to my paddlers, I urged (or maybe screeched), "I don't care where Electric is at the finish line; whatever you do, you do not lose to Otto! Do what you need to do! YOU make it happen!"
YOU?! Is this the LARD you know?
Context: As a tongue-in-cheek way to follow the theme of the naming convention, it was decided in our first day's secret meeting that "LARD Leon" would be renamed "Team ME". After all, it wasn't just about me, but ALL the me's. Furthering the theme, I explained that you can't have a T-E-A-M without M-E. So the focus was, for once, placed on the individuals. Example, if the boat feels heavy, YOU do something about it; you clearly can't rely on your teammates. And this theme carried us to our final. Against Otto. With all humbleness and humility, you can ask him the results.
A grilling we will go
Kenny Kim (Sept 10, 2012)
At the last minute we were informed that Lake Legg allowed grilling! Otto, being our resident expert and making charcoal from hunks of meat, brought his camping grill and an assortment of meats on a stick, while Jeannie, brought packs of veggie dogs and burgers to share with the group. Yum!
Megan Yeh (Sept 6, 2012)
I had front row seats to one of the first collisions of the day, as I was the caller. It was the first heat of LARD Megan. In our 4 boat heat, 3 boats veered off course. It was a spectacle to watch and also a jaw clenching moment as I almost thought we were going to be taken out. We were in Boat 2. Just moments after the start, Boat 4 suddenly lost control and ran into Boat 3, which pushed their head to the left towards us. I thought they were going to hit our tail, but luckily we had shot far out ahead enough that they went behind us. Instead, they hit the tail of Boat 1. Note, Boat 1 was to our left. Like a police cruiser performing the PIT maneuver, Boat 1 was pushed on the right side of their tail, forcing them to veer right and crossed behind us. When I saw Boat 4 collide into Boat 3, I thought that was it. I didn't think this would also end up affecting Boat 1. I didn't show it in my face, but all I could think of was "Oh S^%$!" Needless to say we took that race, but lesson learned: good starts are important.
The second heat for LARD Megan was just as eventful since we went head to head with LARD Scott. There was the traditional "you're going down" trash talk of course, but what we didn't expect was the evilness that is Scott. The horn bleated and all I can hear is Scott yelling, "MEGAN! MEGAN! MEGAN!" repeatedly trying to throw us off. Being the experienced caller I was, I didn't miss a beat in the start call. Though in my head, I was like, "focus, dammit, focus!" I was honestly very tempted to look over, but kept the concentration on my boat. With all the random shouting I wondered if LARD Scott was more thrown off than us.
Overall the race was a fun one as we had a lot of BIG talk going about. I was impressed with LARD Scott as it showed a lot of promise for hopefully our soon to come full-LARD masters team. The things to note with LARD Leon and LARD Otto was the finals race as we went to head-to-head. As we crossed that finished line, beating LARD Otto, and Leon shouts, "suck it Otto!" Because all that mattered for that race was beating LARD Otto. In the end, all the BIG talk was in good fun.
What would a race be without at least some collisions and a capsize? What can we say? it's the asian version of Nascar!
Standing on shore waiting to marshall, what do I see, Phil taping his DSLR camera to his head. WHY? I have no idea. What's wrong with using the lipstick camera you ask? I have no idea. Phil, our resident rabid squirrel, does what he does. Go Phil Go!
Scott Wu (Sept 7, 2012)
We took a different approach for this fun race. It was the first annual dragon boat race at Legg Lake. What better way to quietly introduce the LARD Masters squad to the dragon boat community? Disguised as Team Scott, the 40+ year old LARD paddlers were the second fastest LARD boat at Legg Lake (LARD brought a total of 4 teams). We had a whole bunch of fun and we were able to put together a few very solid pieces. We will see if we'll be able to field a full LARD Masters boat next year!
Doug Nyland (Sept 8, 2012)
The LARD roster is quite diverse in many ways. One thing that I've been impressed with since joining the team, being not quite a spring chicken, is that neither coaches nor teammates voice or expect less effort or less heart from a paddler be they 20, 40 or 60. If I put in a sub-par performance, I've never had a coach tell me, "Well, you did pretty good for your age, maybe take it easy next time." I've found this motivational while training as I see the oldest and youngest teammates both pushing themselves to the limit.
At the first annual Los Angeles Dragon Boat Festival at Legg Lake was the first time I've heard age mentioned in a team context since joining LARD. The teams had broken up into our various boats, headed by different coaches. I was on Team Scott, which turned out to be a "masters" team of paddlers aged 40 and up (in dragonboat, you qualify for the Masters division at 40, and the Grandmasters division at 50 ~editor). Scott discussed that this was the first time that we'd put together a LARD masters team. When speaking about going up against the other teams he didn't say, "Do your best out there, keeping in mind that you're going up against a lot of younger paddlers." No, the first time age was brought up it was kind of like this. "As we get older, we have to train harder." No "outs" were given. No "passes" were given. What I took away was, essentially, "You think you're working hard now? Well guess what? You're NOT working hard enough if you want to compete with the field of paddlers!"
Oh, LARD... you'll be the end of me, and I love it!
Oh, and by the way, in case anyone forgot, Team Scott did walk away with hardware from the festival! Notice served.
Kenny Kim (Sept 8, 2012)
So... there I was. Minding my own business. Prepped for the start of the race. It is a little hot, but nothing like HK, and while the course is short, the weight of a 10-man boat and the height above the water still make it a challenging race. I'm focused. Or I was when I hear this:
KENNY! HEY KENNY!!!
What the #@$%?!? Now I'm in the middle of the start sequence.
KENNY LOOK OVER HERE! KENNY!!
He yells some other stuff. I think he yelled something at Megan. I'm not sure. But I can say with pride that I did not. I repeat. I did. not. look. over. Although I did botch my recovery for one stroke. If you haven't realized it yet, we have crazy people on the team. Very crazy people.