Friday, December 01, 2006

Dragon boats and strange accents

We went to dinner last night with a dear friend of mine who coaches in Boston. We were on the light rail headed to a fine seafood dinner when we got into a discussion about whether the convention is valuable. Ethan's point of view was that if you left with one thing that inspired you to try something new that is was worth your time (and money). I have left every seminar I've attended with some nugget of gold. Fools' gold perhaps but even the fool is inspired in the dark of winter when something new shines from the bottom of the river.

The two high points for today:
1. An hour of Dragon Boat paddling with the folks who stumbled onto us in the coffee shop this morning. They were arriving with life jackets and paddles. I, innocently, asked "what are you guys doing?" This group of mostly retired folks was excited to tell us all about their Dragon Boat club. The "Golden Dragons" paddle at 9am most mornings and they invited Tracy and me to come along. Of course we said yes. (I didn't have class until 11)

The boats are long. You sit side by side...maybe as many as 20 to a boat. Tracy and I were guided into two seats near the one sat directly in front or behind us, splash factor, we came to realize. We shoved from the sea wall, backed out of the slip and headed out onto the Willamette river (rhymes with dammit, we were instructed). It's not canoeing, certainly not rowing although the timing is similar. There is a hip, torso, pivot sequence that I had a hard time with but our boat mates were helpful and very friendly! We were out about an hour and laughed and paddled, practiced starts and sprints, at one point pulled the three boats together for joke sharing and it was glorious.

2. A very intelligent sports physiologist spoke this afternoon about training modalities, periodization, physiological systems etc. I sat behind the head US national coach Kris Korzeniowski. Kris is, I believe, from Czechoslovakia. Sergei is Russian. Both speak very well and individually are not terribly difficult to understand. Towards the end of the session they engaged in a heated conversation about an issue. My head was full of scientific terms and ideas and I was barely hanging on mentally. There was something very funny about these two non native speakers arguing, in English, about science...which can sound like a foreign language all on its own. It was hard not to laugh. Several of us were barely containing our amusement...which made it worse.

Sharon passed her Level One coaching certification test! And has enjoyed the learning process. We have eaten some fantastic meals, spent time with old friends and will be happy to get home.

Tomorrow is my big Youth Advisory Committee meeting...8-1pm. After we are going to the City Market and then on a brewery tour. Maybe I'll erg...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jenn, sounds like you guys had a great time, I will definitely look into going next year (and I hear its in sunny Miami ;). -Amy