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Posts Tagged ‘technique’

“When I look into your eyes it’s like watching the night sky.”

A pair of Canadian geese paddled across the smooth river towards me.  It was a still evening and the reflections of the ripples floated towards the jetty. The geese scrambled out of the water and clumsily waddled off. Their sense of purpose meant that they were on their way to their quiet nest for the evening. I could not help thinking that they looked about as awkward on land, as I was about to feel in a boat on water! I stood on the bank as I contemplated my next endeavour…..dragon boat paddling! The words: ‘Face your fears’ and ‘start something new,’ were drumming in my head. After all spring was here and the enthusiasm and energy were infectious!

'The Girls'

‘The Girls’

“I see that you’ve come so far to be right where you are.”

Names were checked off, life vests fastened and the correct length of paddle chosen from the stock. My stomach growled and I was not sure if I was excited or apprehensive. It was probably my supper that I had wolfed down before I ran out the front door. As I adjusted my life jacket, things felt strangely familiar.  I was reminded of childhood holidays in South Africa where we would ‘muck about in boats.’ I adjusted my life jacket like a dab hand! I can do this……

The length of this was crucial.......

The length of this was crucial…….

“And when you’re needing your space to do some navigating.”

“Take it away, girls!” At first we clashed our oars together as we struggled to get synchronized. Splashes dashed over the boat.

“Watch your partner,” this was proving to be a challenge…..to keep your eye on the person diagonally opposite you and to pull on your paddle at the same time. Not only did I have to think this through but I had to get my body to do what I wanted it to do! I hoped that I could activate some old muscle memory, as it felt that some of them were getting a bit of a rude awakening! Then there was the question of technique!

“We’ve got a lot to learn.”

“Let it run, girls!”  We had a welcome break of a few seconds in between a burst of paddling. I felt my muscles burn…… and then the relief when we could just rest. It is amazing how just those few seconds allowed you to just keep carrying on. I was feeling it now. My knuckle hurt where I had bashed it on the side of the boat. I think my paddle was too long. I needed to remember that when I chose one next time. Then there was the exhilaration of the harmony when we were all in unison……. the fatigue just melted away. Our coach persisted, “Paddles up, girls!

“I won’t give up on us even though the skies get rough.”

It was a still evening and the lights shone down on us through the trees and reflected in the water. The sun had almost slipped away but we still had the last glimmer to steer by. We felt accomplished! All 20 of us had managed to paddle our dragon boat up stream a fair distance. We did not tip over and even built up a dash of speed! There were certainly going to be some sore muscles tomorrow. In the back of our minds we knew we still had much to master but allowed ourselves to indulge in our excitement.

 It was exhilarating! 

We can aspire to.......

We can aspire to…….

 

 

 

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Some things will never change…….

The challenge came forth from way down south where the sun beats warmly on the African earth. Oh the memory of that warmth and clear sky, just the medicine to escape from the reality of our Canadian winter!  

We had been house bound for a few days and had clocked up a 25 centimetre drop of snow all in one day! The wind chill bit into the bones as we shoveled and cleared the driveway. It was a never ending job! We had hit the comfort foods and braved the streets to alleviate the cabin fever. Then ‘the dare’ came in and the spirits lifted. It was just too enticing a challenge to ignore and besides it would distract us from an otherwise dreary cold day.

 

The ramp takes shape....

The ramp takes shape….

But don’t you believe it……

The plan was put in motion. What equipment would be needed? It was obviously going to be a snow setting so all the ski paraphernalia was needed. Then the scene had to be set and this involved the building of a ramp. Some jumping technique would add a bit of flair to the short prescribed video footage. Thank goodness for the house full of engineers and our software ace. It was a case of all hands on deck. The snow shovels and extra garden ones were rounded up and the heaps of snow were reorganized into our very own Winter Olympic ramp. Sochi here we come! Bear in mind that at the bottom of the back garden there was an icy stream and a forest of mature elm trees that had to be avoided at all costs.

Think about it before you break the rules…..

We were finally set up, cameras were poised and the ramp glistened against the backdrop of trees. It was now close to minus 20 C and the breeze had picked up.  We proceeded to the top of the hill. Let’s do this! The thick ski jacket was pulled off to reveal the requirements for the challenge……a bathing costume!  Note this was not a baggy pair of bathing shorts but a speedo! I giggled uncontrollably and was banished to the side of the garden where I would not distract. I was reminded that this was a serious matter. I duly removed myself to a safer vantage point where I could safely chuckle into my coat. The skis were clicked into place, the ski poles dug in and a few warm up stretches were performed. Count down…..3…2….1 ….and my son was off. He slid down the track and flew up into the air over the ramp, twisted and landed perfectly. We all let out a whoop and I ululated from my banished position. He did it! He met the challenge!

 

Lights, camera, action.....

Lights, camera, action…..

It’s just the way it is……

The cold does strange things to you when you are cooped up for so long. It is similar to being stuck out in the bush for long periods of time. In South Africa it is known as being bosbev…k. So we survive the cold version of this malady by amusing ourselves with ‘many firsts.’  I am grateful that ‘the challenge’ took place in our back garden.  I am sure some of our neighbours might have called in the paramedics and had us rushed off to ‘groen dakkies’ if they had noticed our antics!

Groen dakkies: the asylum in Cape Town

bosbev…k:  bush mad.

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