Saturday, September 16, 2006


The Stratford event, held today, marks the end of the Silvermaster dragonboat season. The Silvermasters came in 19th out of 66 in the event, which is a strong finish for the team. There were a number of very good teams there, as well as 12 breast cancer survivor teams. We were lucky to have a reasonably nice day; it was neither too hot nor too cold. It was overcast for most of the day but cleared up in the afternoon.

So here are the things I liked about the festival:
  • Lots of friendly local people turned out to watch. Many of the teams include people who live in Stratford, and so their friends and neighbours came out to watch.
  • The portalets were plentiful and cleaned often.
  • There were two flush toilets that were also cleaned regularly.
  • Recycling was available.
  • Free water was given to the participants after each race.
  • The event was well-organized. It ended up running a few minutes late which isn't too bad given that there were 66 teams competing in heats of up to 4, and that they started late.
  • The beer tent had a big tv that showed the finishes of each race, live.
  • There was lots of competition at every level.
Nothing's perfect... here are the things I didn't like:
  • The event ran a little long. It started at 8am and wasn't scheduled to finish until after 6pm, and then the awards ceremony is held afterwards. They could have done without the breast cancer challenge (the breast cancer teams tend to race each other anyways) and the women's challenge. This would have sped things up a bit. As well, they had 2 extra teams and therefore extra heats, which contributed to the lengthy day.
  • The female announcer. Her voice is rather annoying. Also, right when the teams finish each race, ashe asks them for a cheer or a yell and when they don't (because they've just paddled like crazy for 500m and are panting to try to catch their breath) she says things like the team doesn't have enough team spirit. She has improved over last year - she correctly calls the activity "paddling" instead of "rowing". Also, when she is repeatedly extolling the virtues of the beer tent, this year she mentioned that there were pop, coolers, and water there in addition to beer.
  • There were no programs. Normally each event prints up programs that might include team bios and sponsorship information as well as a timetable.
  • There were early delays due to megaphone issues (as in, the first two megaphones they took to the start line didn't work. What are the odds?).
  • The water in Stratford is awful - it's narrow, shallow, and, well, not that clean.
I'd go back to this event. It's one of the nicer ones that the team attends. Although I am glad that the dragonboat season is done for the year, and perhaps that makes this event all the nicer :)

No comments: