Last night I went to Dragon Boat practice at the Marina. The weather was looking pretty bad the entire train ride there. The clouds were all grey and there was that certain amber hue in the air that reminded me of Nebraska rainstorms in the Summer time.
We waited around about 10-15 minutes to see if it was ok to get in the boat. There was thunder and lightning around, and obviously that is a bad time to go out into the water. However, Bill, the leader of the Wall Street Dragons said it was ok to go because the lightning was to the east, so we all packed in and shipped out. There were about two other boats out there as well.
We rowed to one of the bouys (sp?) and turned around to get into racing mode. As soon as we turned around, the rain came down on us hard. As we were rowing, the rain starting hurting. I looked down at my feet and noticed the rain bouncing off the bottom of the boat and realized that it wasn’t rain, it was hail!
Then the wind started blowing fiercely and developed a strong current against us. We kept rowing, but the rain was so heavy, I couldn’t keep it out of my eyes. Visibility dropped to zero and at that moment the most interesting thing happened. I closed my eyes and just started rowing with my internal beat. Everyone did. Everything fell into sync as we rowed ourselves all the way back to the dock. Hats off to our steer person for getting us back in one piece. It was quite the Zen moment for all of us. We got out of the boats and sought refuge under one of the awnings. I felt sorry for the last boat that came in – one of the women’s team, because then it started hailing really hard. The hail was bouncing off the docks and hitting me in the legs and it hurt, so I can imagine how much pain the women on that boat were going through. There were about three dragon boat teams all huddled together. After a few minutes, it all went away. It was crazy.
Afterwards, one of the teammates who opted not to go on the boat was furious at us because we decided to go. She reminded us how dangerous it was, and how scary it was for her to watch all of us disappear behind the rain. I guess now that I think about it, it was not the smartest thing to do, but we were all just following orders. So, next time we’ll be more cautious. But it was crazy…and memorable.