A long time ago, when I had just left my very first real job out of college [and cried my eyes out while doing so, it was a gut-wrenching decision and I have always been the wistful type], I was able to return to the organization and the people who really helped me come into my own, and dragon boat with them in an amateur competition on the waters of the San Francisco bay. That organization had a youth team which was very good; we adults - former and current staff members - were a motley crew, more likely to be laughing at the amount of water accidentally sprayed over entire rows of paddlers [that would be me] than actually rowing in time or moving along at a decent speed.
So this year when I learned my school has a dragon boating club, I grabbed a friend and headed out for the Charles to see what it was all about. And, though I am now tanned darker than I have been since my days of running cross country in high school, it was been fun indeed. Occasionally painful, often exhausting, it nonetheless reminds me of why I love team sports so much, and also why the workout it just that much more challenging when someone else is pushing you, as opposed to the years of leisurely runs I've embarked upon since leaving organized sports behind in high school.
And there are definitely other perks as well. I snapped this a couple weeks ago as we stepped off the pier, back from a grueling practice.
The free summer open-air concerts at Hatch Shell are mere steps away from our landing dock. Jamie and I almost always pause for a movement or two to soak it all in - the musicians, the warmth of a summer sunset settling in against our skin, families and clusters of friends spread out on picnic blankets and under the trees. Walking back home with a good friend, full of the knowledge that I am slowly, slowly, carving out a slice of this city which I can finally call my own.