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Ester Marsh: Teamwork is the key

My son and I were lucky to be part of this past Saturday’s fourth dragon boat race at High Rock Lake and the turnout for this event was awesome!

We are part of Salisbury Rowan Runners and our team was called the SRRius Waverunners!

Only two of our 20 people in the boat had ever done a dragon boat race before this one.

I have kayaked and canoed plenty of time,s but this was my first time on a dragon boat and I had a blast!

When you have 20 people on the boat and one drummer (trying hard to keep everyone on the same pace) teamwork is the only way to be fast. Doesn’t matter how strong or how fit you are, if you are not working together it just won’t go smoothly.

We had two great races where we won each heat. The first race we worked together but WOW were we in a frenetic pace! We couldn’t really dig into the water because we had such a fast cadence. The second race we worked very well together and were digging deep, a LOT more efficient then the first race and only 2 seconds slower but our cadence was too slow.

So for our last and final race for the gold in the B division we were pumped, digging deep, with a faster cadence, and working together! We were the favorite to win! Not sure why it happened but what happened is that our team was not in tune with each other any more. With 20 people packed tight on a boat with 10 seats, the only way to move forward smoothly is to stroke the water at the same time, in unison. In our last race we were hitting each others’ paddles and working so hard to be fast but losing our team cadence; as a result, we ended up fighting each other more than the other two boats and ended up last in that race.

Yes, a bittersweet outcome, all of us competitors, all of us OK with losing — if we could have just worked hard together also in the last race. I hope we will go back again next year and show how Salisbury Rowan Runners can work together in each heat!

But isn’t it amazing how important teamwork is? In any successful sports team, school, business, church — you name it — when you ask or do research on why they are so much better than so and so, the majority of the time the main reason is they work so efficiently together. We see it when great athletes come together to make an All Star team — if they do not work together, it doesn’t matter how great they are as individuals, the results won’t be good.

Remember the 4x100M women’s and men’s relay at the Beijing Olympics in 2008? All were amazingly fast runners predicted to win gold, but for some reason they were not in tune with each other, dropping the baton in the prelims and neither of them getting a medal at all in that event. It almost happened again in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The US women were disqualified but got to do a re-run since they were obstructed by another team and ended up winning the gold.

As you see, it happens to the best of us! Teamwork is imperative in any sport, business and of course in life. And as long as we all are trying to work together as a team, we cannot only “move mountains”…. the world will become a better place.

Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director for the JF Hurley family YMCA and a dragon boat racer.

 

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