Every new season brings some changes to Breast Friends. As with every year, we always welcome a group of newbies to our team. The 2016 season was no different, with most of the new ladies returning this year. They have dubbed themselves the “yearlings”.
We asked the yearlings 4 questions about their thoughts on Breast Friends and dragon boat racing…
Why do you paddle?
“It’s the team. The energy, the heart and commitment of each and every person that shows up for practices and festivals trying their best to do something very difficult. It’s also our trainers who believe in our strengths and relentlessly push us to believe in ourselves and try our best.”
“I paddle because it is the most physically challenging thing I have ever participated in. I love being part of a team and the support and love we give each other is awesome.”
“I do it for me and to set an example for my grand-kids.”
“I paddle for the 3 min or less (preferably less) thrill of the race and the spirit of the team.”
“It’ll be fun! they said…”
Why did you decide to come back?
“Once I understood that the drive of our coaching staff was a positive motivational experience, how could I not? We have excellent trainers, facilities, and I have to admit I got hooked!!”
“Wonderful group of ladies. Also want to do better!”
“I came back for two reasons. First, joining this group is all about me – looking after me, doing something really hard and being proud of it. I come home from practice and my kids ask about my workout and they are impressed when we compare workouts! Secondly, I feel comfortable with this group of women – it’s a safe environment, we encourage and support each other, and we have a lot of fun. I have had some incredible experiences – without BF I would not have those. (Go Italy!)”
“I need the motivation to maintain my fitness and overall I have enjoyed the challenges, in spite of the sore muscles, etc. Besides I’d really miss you guys!”
“The friendships I made last year mean so much to me, being with these ladies is like being home. We have a special comfort level with each other and I would miss the fitness.”
“It was fun! I convinced myself…”
What was the highlight of 2016?
“I think it was the Edmonton festival, my fourth and final one for the year. Feeling proud of myself that I could paddle and stay strong, that I could focus and fight to the end of the race. Knowing I had still a lot to learn and many skills to develop but I had tried my best. A hard won sense of accomplishment. And also feeling closer to other team members, a beginning sense of belonging.”
“My highlight of 2016 was the Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival. It was an opportunity for your family and friends to watch us in action and I was so proud to share the occasion with them all.”
“One of the highlights for me was winning a race. I’ve never been a part of a team sport and the experience of winning was so exciting.”
“For me the highlight of last year would be my first race in Lethbridge! Also the many new friendships made through the year!”
What impact has paddling with BF’s had on you?
“I am fitter, stronger and I am enriched by the relationships with so many spirited women.”
“It has made me more determined to stay fit and keep going!! To never give up!!”
“Positive people…show myself I can do more than I thought.”
“hmmmmm…BF has given me the most comprehensive, incredible, intensive, hardest, and cheapest workout that I could imagine. I have been able to meet similar people, have made some incredible friendships, and have been exposed to the crazy dragon boat world. I am exhausted after each workout but feel great about what I have accomplished. I feel like I am part of an amazing team – and I am so appreciative that given the bleep we have all gone through, we have all been able to come together for this incredible activity.”
“Paddling with Breast Friends has enriched my life. I realize I am stronger than I think I am. The coaches encouragement has helped me both physically and mentally to become a stronger person. Knowing that all the team has been through breast cancer we can rely on each other for encouragement and comfort.”
“Made me ‘dig deep’ exploring my strengths & weaknesses. Made new friends and added a new excitement to my life.”
“What I take away from this wow, if I was told tomorrow I could no longer be part of this group I’d be devastated. I feel more complete that I have a strong commitment to my team.”
“Breast Friends has brought positivity and happiness back into my life.”
“It’s given me: an amazing sense of belonging; an identity with others who have walked the breast cancer journey and admiration for their positivity, optimism and encouragement; a new passion to strive to be better, faster, stronger (hear “Rocky” music in background); my daily recommended number of hugs. Thinking about paddling with breast friends brings tears to my eyes, and a grin on my face. Thinking about all of the amazing women in the group makes my heart happy!”
We would agree!