There was something different about this year’s Long View corporate dragon boat team. I could see it from day one and it took until this year’s festival in August to really understand what it was.
If you have managed a team, you know it can be like herding cats and dragon boat is no different. You need commitment from your team at practices which directly translates to performance during competition. Dragon boating consists of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steer person at the back of a 40+ foot canoe; you can imagine the coordination that goes into each stroke. As in the business world; you only succeed at what you effectively prepare for.
Practices started early June and it was apparent that we had a lot of work to do. This year’s team was one-third returning and two-thirds new paddlers which always brings a unique challenge to the coaching staff. Corporate teams are not typically competitive due to the ever changing roster from season to season. To be effective, we had to get the rookies up to speed physically and technically so we could build on the experience the veterans brought to the boat. After this was accomplished, it came down to team dynamics and the level of intensity the team wanted to bring to the festival.
I can tell you with absolute confidence that our returning paddlers are our embers and have made us a better team. This year marked Long View’s 3rd season of dragon boat racing and many of these individuals have been with the team since year one. It has been their commitment to the team that fueled the motivational fire and was infectious to the new members. We didn’t have to get over confidence hurdles on whether or not we could compete because we knew we could. These core members also represented the team’s culture which is built on positive reinforcement, acceptance, and a sense of ‘Ohana’ (family or belonging). This culture manifested into a unified front, and when we worked as a single unit nothing could stop us. This season had a lot of dedication but we always maintained a level of fun which made the hard work come easily.
The 2015 Calgary Dragon Boat Festival was held on August 21-23rd and our team, Long View Slipstream, placed 2nd (silver) in the corporate division and 1st place in our competitive division final. I am very proud of all we accomplished this season. A group of individuals began as colleagues and left as friends and members of the larger community.