The pain didn’t set in until about 10:30 p.m., hours after we had finished the Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Races last year. Maybe the rush of being on the water in a giant boat shaped like a dragon, paddling like mad to the finish line with a team made up of a lot of my fellow co-workers had kept me from feeling the effects of what I had done to my body that day. Whatever it was, it wasn’t strong enough for the loud protest my body sprung on me later that night, because when I walked I looked like a sunburnt zombie from “The Walking Dead” and my joints popped like there was a endless bowl of Rice Krispies forever being doused in milk.
“Well, I’m never doing that again,” I told myself. How foolish I was. I tried to deny that I now had an itch for Dragon Boat racing.
So here we are, once again it’s the Bemidji Dragon Boat Race Festival this week, and once again I jumped at the chance to get in the Dragon Boat. There are some differences this year. For one, I now have an idea of what I’m in for. And two, I’m in better shape than I was last year (not in shape by any means, just better shape). There are, of course, things outside my power that will be to my disadvantage. Things like having the races at 9:30 in the morning — a time when sane, rational people are still sleeping.
Our team, The Deadliners, will once again make a valiant attempt at not being the worst team out there (I say this because there are teams who practice year-round, so I’m pretty sure there will not be some “Mighty Ducks” miracle comeback from us to win the whole thing — though I guess anything is possible). In fact , last year I say we did pretty OK. But we are not in it for the glory, we are in it for the fun. And that fun is why we are willing to get sun burned, smell like lake water and paddle a Dragon Boat to the rhythmic beat of a drum on Lake Bemidji this Saturday. It truly is a great time.