Dragonboating — it’s a Zen thing

Cancer Support Group member Christina Hartley (left) accepts a cheque for $500 from Barb Little, president of the Lake Revelstoke Dragonboat Society, late Thursday afternoon as members Greg Doizi (back left), his wife Jannica Hoskins (back, center) and Jennifer Wolney look on. The society raised the money through fundraising events such as its upcoming garage sale, manning the kitchen and selling food, coffee etc at the Xmas Craft Faire and raffling off a gorgeous quilt the Revelstoke Quilters made for us for that purpose. David F. Rooney photo

Submitted by the Lake Revelstoke Dragonboat Society

The Revelstoke Dam Survivors, paddling into their 4th year, are training hard for an upcoming two-day Dragonboat Festival and Competition in Penticton September 11.  The bold yellow boat, which holds 22, is a symbol of the fight to survive cancers of all kinds.  Focus is needed to keep 20 paddlers stroking in time. Endurance is needed to go the distance.  Remembering to breathe, to dig deep, to tap into inner reserves and to rely on the support of the team takes them across the finish line.

Dragonboaters paddle for many reasons. And it is addictive, says Dragonboat Society president Barb Little.

“We are often the only boat on the lake,” she said.  “We paddle with beavers and loons, with lovely Mt Begbie framed behind the dam.  It may be raining and blowing in Revelstoke, but the reservoir is often calm and flat as a mirror.  The stress and mess of the day falls away as we lose ourselves in the rhythm of stroking together. It’s a very Zen thing.”

Little noted that no, you don’t have to be a cancer survivor to join the team.

“We welcome all-comers,” she said. “Dragonboating really took off about 20 years ago when an oncologist discovered that the position of the upper arm during the paddle stroke (held high above the body) helped in the reduction of lymphodema in breast cancer survivors who’d had the lymph glands under their arms removed.  Now, apparently, dragonboating is one of the fastest growing sports in Canada.”

The Dragon Boat Society fundraises to help groups like the Revelstoke Cancer Support Group, promote cancer awareness, and to take the team out of town to festivals and competitions. Mark your calendars for their upcoming Second Annual Gigantic Garage Sale the end of September.

Little and the team invite anyone interested in getting out in the boat to meet at 6:15 on Mondays in the U-Haul parking lot beside the Frontier.  For more information call Ginger Shoji at 250-837-4129.