SFFD Fire Dragons take 1st place at the 2005 International Dragonboat Festival
By Patricia Yuen
This years competition was held the weekend of August 27-28th on sunny Treasure Island. As we prepared for our final race of the day, our paddlers had one thought on their minds, “Second place was not going to be good enough!” Although we had finished first in all of our previous races of the day, the final heat was still up for grabs and cockiness would NOT be our demise. We all wanted “The TEAM to WIN”! To win as a team, we had to be a TEAM. And this was ultimately the difference. We had come so close last year, finishing second to the US Marines. This year, there were more teams (29 in all) and more competition. After two heats, the final five boats in the last race of the day was decided. We were “IN” and last years winners, the US Marines, did not make the cut.

It was 3:45pm when we began lining up against the competition. Our coach, fire reserve Nick Tan, gave us a pep talk before getting into the boat. As we paddled to the starting line, we ignored the heckles of a team that will not be mentioned. We knew we were the heavy favorites to win. Our boat, sitting in the show boat lane (the middle lane), slowly crept its way up to the starting line. We waited for the start signal, “Paddlers are you ready? Attention please.” And the buzzer went off. One minute and 34 seconds later, the race was over and we were declared the winners in a photo finish. Second place went to Team Newsom who used recreational paddlers (pros) in their boat. Yes we found out!

Thank you to all the paddlers whose enthusiasm throughout the day made for an unforgettable win. Your family, friends, and loved ones are always invited to have fun with us. Without friends and family coming to ‘fill the boat’ for practice, we wouldn’t have been good enough. Thanks to the Asian Firefighters Association for their support and donation each year. A special thanks to Ed Moy, who cooks up a feast of delicious food each year for the paddlers. It’s the food that makes us the most envied team each year. Oh yes, and before I forget, thanks to Truck 48 who saved a group of paddlers stranded on the Island when their electric vehicle lost power!

Photo provided by Patricia Yuen


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