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Dragon Boat Team Was Not Last

In both heats of the Dragon Boat competition, the UlsanOnline/Benchwarmers team, the “Resident Aliens” did not lose. At least we didn’t lose completely. In the first heat, we were 5th of 6 boats. The 6th team was a no-show.  In the 2nd heat, we came in 5th again, shaving an impressive 4 seconds off our time but this time beating an actual 6th place team on the water. We were ecstatic that we didn’t suck as bad as they did!

Things might have turned out better had our entire team showed. We had 18 members on our practice session on July 4th, but nearly 25% of our team failed to show up for the actual races. A number of the Resident Aliens were more than a little miffed at the rudeness and complete lack of consideration of the four  who failed to follow through on their commitments.

Upon arrival, our first moment of ignominy came in the form of our team shirts. How a printing company could jack up a JPEG image and misspell a word defies understanding.

Ulsan Onling?  Puhleeze!

Ulsan Onling? Puhleeze!

We were not the only waygook team in the races. In fact, there were teams from faraway places who had come to Ulsan for the dragon boat races. Japan, Russia and even Hungary fielded crews for this event.

Signs in various languages line the banks of the Taewha

Signs in various languages line the banks of the Taewha

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One had to wonder if the signs in other languages were as grammatically incorrect as the English signs along the pathways.

Resident Aliens prepare to race

Resident Aliens prepare to race. On the starboard side, from right are Fin, Martin, Andy, Lee, Mitch, Sam H and Katja.

Resident Aliens prepare to race

Resident Aliens prepare to race. Port side are (from left) Nam, JT, Nigel, Sam W., Rayn, Katrina and Soy

Dee Madden gives the team some last minute instruction on their way to the starting line

Drummer Dee Madden gives the team some last minute instruction on their way to the starting line

Resident Aliens power through the final 100 meters, barely causing a ripple on the water

Resident Aliens power through the final 100 meters, barely causing a ripple on the water. Notice the fine precision and uniform rowing skiils

Professional Teams, meanwhile, throw sprays of water off their bows

Professional Teams, meanwhile, throw sprays of water off their bows while rowing in perfect unison

While it was comforting to know that we weren’t last, our best race time of 3:20 was a far cry from the Hungarian team’s 2:09 for the same 500m. We perhaps might practice more should we wish to compete in the masters races rather than the amateur slots we entered.

The Hungarian Hard-body team prepares to drubb another competitor

The Hungarian Hard-body team prepares to drubb another competitor

Katrina had fun, but Ulsan Onling Editor-in-Cheif Fin Madden is not happy.

Katrina had fun, but Ulsan Online Editor-in-Chief Fin Madden is not happy.

Resident Aliens return to their tent after a glorious 5th place race

Resident Aliens (from left) Andy. Katrina, Katja, JT, Dee, Fin, Sam and Ryan return to their tent after a glorious 5th place race

All in all, despite losing, I believe all who showed up had a great time. After races, the team headed to Kebapistan for Turkish food and beer, all at the expense of the Ulsan Dragon Boating Association who funded it. Later drinks at Benchwarmer’s Sports Bar were also on the Dragon Boating’s nickel.

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