The pressure was on. After capturing gold in a photo finish at last year’s Seattle Dragon Boat Festival, this year’s WE PADDLERS Dragon Boating team had big shoes to fill. And with a team full of mostly first-time paddlers and just one month of practice, victory was certainly not a sure thing. But in the end, thanks to a unique combination of deviled eggs, a lucky stocking cap, spiked gummy bears, and impassioned battle cries, the WE PADDLERS brought the trophy back home to Civica for another year! And as you can see by this word cloud of how the team described their experience, it was a fun, exhilarating and dramatic journey…
The road to ultimate victory at the 10th Annual Seattle Dragon Boat Festival was definitely not an easy one. Our team was one of 36 teams that paddled in the event on Lake Union, raising more than $12,000 for Team Survivor Northwest programs for local women cancer patients and survivors. More than 10,000 spectators cheered on the over 1,000 athletes in the 50 races scheduled throughout the day. In the Novice Corporate division, WE paddled against other bigger companies like Starbucks, Swedish Hospital, and AT&T.
The first race was tough—a last-place finish. But after shaking off the early morning jitters, the subsequent heats saw the WE PADDLERS getting faster and faster, with an 2nd-place finish in heat #2 and a nail-biting come-from-behind victory in Heat #3.
With targets on our backs after a rambunctious celebration from the previous race, the team prepared for its final race with visualizations and focused practice starts. Tension escalated as the start was delayed by a seaplane and a rogue sailboat crossing through the course. But once the boats realigned at the start line and the air horn finally sounded, WE PADDLERS kicked it into high gear. And all looked good for a top three finish…until disaster struck! The boat in the neighboring lane was getting closer and closer…and finally collided with the WE PADDLERS boat—an extremely rare (and controversial) occurrence in dragon boat racing!
But the well-trained and focused WE PADDLERS battled through, paddling into and onto anything we could—even the other team’s boat—to get the boat over the finish line. While we didn’t win that final heat due the unfortunate and dramatic collision, our fast times ultimately earned us a gold medal in our division—VICTORY!
The team would like to thank WE for continuing to generously sponsor our team for the past four years. WE’s $800 donation will help Team Survivor Northwest impact more than 2,000 lives a year by “providing guidance and encouragement to every woman cancer survivor so that through her accomplishment she is empowered to lead a fuller, more physically active life.” Washington State has one of the highest incidents rates of cancer in the U.S. (as per Team Survivor NW’s annual report); over 16,000 newly diagnosed cases in women per year. It is estimated that there are in excess of 44,000 women cancer survivors in the Puget Sound area.
We’d also like to thank all the friends and family who came out to cheer the team on—the support was truly amazing and made for such a fun day of competition and camaraderie on and off the water.
The 2013 WE PADDLERS Team: Aaron Petras, Alison Yochum, Cameron Bays, Chris Fischer, Chrissy Vaughn, Team Captain Dana Maxwell, Devon McGill, Diana Cansino, J Farmer, Josh Koehnke, Kate Kohler, Kristen Russell, Laura Sisson, Lindsey Hall, Lisa Blessinger, Melina Townsend, Sandi Glasow, Stephen Odell, and WE friends Tyler Schnaidt, EJ Harrid, Patty Tazalla, Mike Lazer, Jonathan McClain, and coach Eric Broberg.
If you’re in the Seattle office and are interested in joining next year’s WE Paddle team, please let Sandi Glasow or Lisa Blessinger know. We’re always looking for new, enthusiastic team members!