Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Whale Tale of a Time

Well, my second Dragon Boat practice was definitely worst than the first, due to a misfortunate choice of pants, a full boat, a new drill we practiced.

First off. I should’ve realize how bad it was going to be merely by the fact that I was sorely tempted to skip this practice. I had already gotten up at 4:30 am to drop my parents off at Logan airport and was tired from returning to work after a four day weekend to a brand new location, which involved hassles like my ID not working and unpacking. The only reason I ended up going to practice was that we’re required to attend three team practices in order to participate in the actual race. My company had scheduled four practices total, and if I had skipped tonight’s practice, then I would’ve been automatically forced to attend the last two practices. And since the weather was relatively nice tonight, I didn’t want to risk the chance that one or both of the last two practices would have rainy weather. Dragon boat practices are only cancelled due to thunder and lightening, not just rain.

Parking at the MIT Pierce boathouse is a pain in the butt, so I’ve learned just to suck it up and park on Mass Ave., which requires a brisk, ten minute walk to make it in time to practice at 6 pm. It was during this walk that I realized the jeans I had changed into at the end of the day were too loose and required a belt. As my fleece covered my waistline, I figured I was safe and made a mental note to wear better pants to the next practice.

Upon arriving at the dock, I realized that we had our full team contingent of 18 people (the boat holds 22 overall). This meant extra rows of people in the boat, which also mean that instead of Phu sitting directly behind me, I now had a row of strange male coworkers.

Things only got worse once we started paddling. Dragon boat racing has you only grasping one oar in an exaggerated stretching motion – to do it correctly, you need to be at the edge of your seat, twisted and extending the oar in a digging motion that is perpendicular to the water. This meant every time I paddled, I was leaning forward, which caused my pants to droop down slightly and my fleece to rise up, revealing a “whale tale.” Even more embarrassing, is the fact that if you don’t lean forward enough, the person behind you ends up smacking their oar into you. So on top of the fact that I was flashing the whole boat (As a member of Row 3, I had five full rows of two people and a steersman behind me), one of the guys behind me had to tap me on the shoulder and tell me I need to lean forward more so the guy behind me wouldn’t hit me.

Then, our coach from the Boston Dragon Boat Festival Committee decided to try a new drill that had us closing our eyes and paddling. I was already feeling off key due to my embarrassment over my pants, and sure enough, I felt my paddle hit the paddle in front of me, and then the one behind me. Swearing and apologizing at the same time, I was mortified to hear a chain reaction of paddles hitting paddles due to my fumble! Although everyone was nice on my team, I’m sure I have the rep of being the incompetent girl on the boat. And my small hope that no one else noticed my underwear creeping up was dashed by Phu’s statement that he could see it, which he verified by giving the color. Yikes! Next week, I’m wearing proper athletic clothing, even if I’m coming straight from work and I’ll be the best damned paddler out there!

Here's a rather bad picture of how soaked my clothing and Phu's clothing was after practice - "love that dirty water - Boston, you're my home!"


CR said...

Dear Boston Chomper,

Is a whale tale the same as a coin slot?
Please be more clear in follow up posts.

I remain,


bcallegra said...

Dear CR,

I deliberately avoided a clear description but you've forced me to come clean - a whale tale involves a certain type of underwear poking up over your waistband - any one of your students would know this!

Yours fondly,

Boston Chomper