As we gathered on race day, no distractions would stand in the way of our steely-eyed band of paddle-warriors as they prepared themselves for the test of character and fortitude that awaited them in faraway Qingpu. The sky was blue, and the weather was cool. It was a perfect day for a dragon boat race. Our team from The Essential Learning Group was called ‘Wugui Masters’. Wugui means turtle, and we chose this name because we thought we might finish last.
Monte Rosen and others within The Essential Learning Group had embraced the idea of participating in City Dragon Boat Race from the start. With the company’s keen support Chin and Taube set to organizing ELG’s team. Taube made logistical arrangements, such as transportation and team t-shirts, as Chin recruited a hearty crew and trained them – early in the morning, on weekends. Those assembled agreed that the sacrifice was necessary, and session-by-session the Wugui Masters grew in strength and discipline.
As the masters ebarked at the arena of battle, their eyes met with the chilling stares of their worthy competition. Though we will admit that for a moment their professional apearance was disconcerting, the resolve in our hearts only hardened as we returnd their stares, icily, in kind.
As Chin’s ultmate test of leadership approached, she arranged his paddlers into a strategic fomation. Our rivals could not help but take notice. We were extensively photograped, by friends and rivals alike.
We capsized our boat in the way to the starting line. With our mishap for the race out of the way, we were off the line like lightning, holding a lead until two teams passed us around the midpoint of the race. In the end, we upheld the honor of The Essential Learning Group by posting a third place finish with a time of 2:18, which is quite fast for a relatively inexperienced group of seven women and three men.
Well-deserved thanks and congratulations to Chin and Taube for their leadership, to Monte and all the rest of our cheerleaders for their support, and most of all to the intrepid Wugui Masters for paddling their hearts out.