Lynn Closway works in Mayo Clinic's Department of Public Affairs, and wrote this post as a spectator. For an account from one of Synchronicity's rowers, see Yvette Martin's related post below.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
If you happen to be one of the 76 teams that DIDN'T score the coveted first place in three of the top categories at the 6th Arizona Annual Dragon Boat Festival March 28 and 29, that is.
Be afraid for what next year may hold!
Team Mayo Clinic in Arizona easily reclaimed the corporate championship by placing number one (gold) in the 500-meter race and was the hands-down first-place winner in both the "Cheer" and "Team Spirit" categories. Mayo also took a third-place (bronze) win in the "Mixed Team - Division C" category, comprising both men and women paddlers.
Dragon boating encompasses 2000 years of tradition, one of mankind's oldest organized competitions. The original folk ritual honors not only the dragon, but pays tribute to a 4th century patiotic Chinese poet who drowned.
Teams competed from California, Oregon, Washington, Canada and parts beyond, including those representing breast cancer survivors and Special Olympics. The two-day event at Tempe Town Lake in Arizona came alive with enthusiasm, thanks to the spirited and highly integrated teams of paddlers, drummers, coaches, cheer squads, family members, volunteers, observers, kids and dogs.
Mayo Clinic's 40 team members proudly representing 25 departments commanded three boats -- "Mayo Synchronicity 1", "Mayo Synchronicity 2" and "Mayo Synchronicity 3" (made up by a combination of paddlers from Mayo 1 and Mayo 2). And yet nothing seemed more commanding than the cheer team (deafening) and the overall spirit that permeated throughout the two days (sincere, obvious to all and totally in keeping with Mayo's well established team approach).
Michael Lee, from Clinical Studies, one of the team managers, summed it up when he told the Arizona Republic, "It's not just about power. It's a team sport and about how everyone has to be on the same page on how they paddle."
Noted observers: The Mayo cheers weren't reserved for just Mayo participants. The raucous Mayo crowd exhibited its "equal opportunity" enthusiasm for all who came off the boats, no matter what team -- generous with their cheers, support and praise.