It may be impossible to guess what this photo is unless you live in Portland, Oregon. We are entering Rose Festival Week and our next three posts are in honor of same.
Susan says, “To paraphrase the words of the pseudo-ancients, ‘This here be a dragon boat’. Further, this here be a dragon boat paddled by women. Dragon boats are designed to look like – Dragons! And are paddled by large teams racing to catch the flag which is why each boat has a Flag Catcher aboard. The tradition of dragon boat racing goes back thousands of years to China when villages competed and celebrated the rice planting. In Portland, Oregon, the races are rolled into the celebration of Portland’s incredible roses. There are teams of women, high school students, seniors, breast cancer survivors, lesbians, legally blind people, and International teams that compete in the World Championships. Each boat holds many stories of why and how each paddler became involved, learned to paddle, work in synch, and with little or no athletic experience gained a genuine desire to win for the team. Fortunate the presenter who can get a story from one of these paddlers.”
Lucia says, “For many months before the Portland Rose Festival, that Susan mentioned, you can see dragon boats practicing on the river. It’s a lovely sight to see with the sound in the distance of the captains’ calls keeping a rhythm for the paddlers’ strokes. Since my friend is one of the paddlers on this all women’s team, I got to ride during a practice session to take some close up photos. I found the group lively and a lot of fun. But they work hard. You can see from the strain on the women’s faces the concentration and physical effort it takes to work as a team and maintain speed on the river.”
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