Friday, March 10, 2006
"Take it away!"
With those words, we carve the river's water with our paddles and head away from the dock, around the sleeping luxury cruiser and out into the relatively slow moving current of the Willamette River. The entire boat is silent as we ply the waters and move down river away from the heart of the city. Overhead the silvery moon manages to poke her head out from behind the ever-present clouds to illuminate the water the banks the rusted out hulk of a boat resting on the river's edge the trees lining the shore and my fellow paddlers. My arms shoulders and back take on the burn I associate with the onset of exercise as I fall in step with the paddler in front of me who is paddling in step with the rest of the boat in front of him on up to the bow.
Back on the dock awaiting for me are the worries of joblessness, life decisions, rent, front brakes rubbing the tire rim and all the other weightings upon my shoulders. As we head further and further downriver I revel in focusing on keeping in time with the rest of the boat and displacing as much water as I can, propelling our boat downriver.
Directions are called from the bow; as we practice our race starts, shouting and cheering and grunting bubble up over the stillness of the night. Cameraderie overwhelms and a smile splits my face. Jokes are lobbed around and the overall feeling is that of merriment.
Gliding back to the dock we come to rest, tie off and scramble onto the shifting planks of wood. I can't get the grin off my face and my legs feel indomitable as I peddle thru the rain to the bar to meet up for a post-practice bevvie with my teammates, and new friends.
Yeah. I'm going to like this sport.