It is the time of year when the Warriors of Hope Breast Cancer Survivors Dragon Boat Racing Team thinks about launching its boat, but how can you observe social distancing in a dragon boat? You cannot.
There may be some team sports where you can social distance but dragon boat racing is not one of them. Until the social distancing rules are relaxed and it is safe to paddle together, the Warriors are in hiatus as far as on-the-water events ae concerned. We are, however, still quite active in the community.
Understandably, all dragon boat festival events have been cancelled this season, so the Warriors of Hope will not be competing until next year. The command in the boat would be “Hold the Boat.” (Plant your paddle swiftly and fully perpendicular to the gunwale and brace with your body to stop the boat from moving forward or back.)
That does not mean we will be inactive. Our mandate is to show how the quality of life can be enhanced after breast cancer by dragon boat paddling, but another part of our reason for being is to raise awareness of breast cancer in our community and join in the search to find a cure. The boat command would be “Let It (Her) Run” (Stop paddling and hold the paddle in the sit-up position, while letting the boat continue to glide.) Therefore while we have stopped padding we are still active and moving. We have cancelled our yard sale for obvious reasons of social distancing; however our Weed Warriors (one at a time) are still keeping the ribbon flowerbed at the waterfront free of weeds. The tulips are up and will soon be in bloom.
We are still recruiting and offering assistance to our breast cancer survivors. Our new team members are anxious to get into the boat if it is possible this season. The boat command of “Attention Please /Ready, Ready” (Paddles are in the start position when command from race starter is given) will be the words we all want to hear.
During a normal year we fundraise and pay dues to help pay for festivals, training, and equipment, however this year we will not be using our budget for this. You might say the boat command would be “Back It Down” (Paddlers stroke backwards in unison to reverse the boat) or in effect, return some of our fundraising to support our community in this COVID 19 time of special needs. The Team has decided to donate $500 to each of the following: the North Bay Food Bank, The Gathering Place, and The Warming Centre.
In the meantime, if you do not see us on Trout Lake doing our Tuesday and Thursday evening practice, you may greet us on the street, from a social distance, by saying “Paddles Up!” (Hold the paddle in the A-frame forward ready position, close to the side of the boat and blade slightly above the water, ready to enter the water on command. Position is held until next command.)