Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Conquering Fear's Grip One Adventure At A Time

My whole life I've been afraid of trying new things. My inate shyness coupled with anxiety about the unknown have kept me from countless experiences. But I decided, when I moved to NYC, that I was going to have to find a way to nip that tendancy lest I be completely swallowed up by my husband's friends and family or end up a shut-in confined to a dank Brooklyn walk-up.

Which is a long way of saying the past few weeks I've been going out with an all-female dragon boating team to paddle on the LaGuardia Bay. How did this happen? Well, one of Rod's college friends is Chinese-American woman named M. who's been doing dragon boating since she was in high school. The group she was involved in, Women In Canoe, started a breast cancer crew a few years ago and W. thought that I , because of my involvement with the Foundation For Cancer Research & Education, might be interested. Which sort of led me to the Junior or "regular" crew.

So, about three times so far I've joined the 20-odd team of women in a long boat to race back and forth across the bay. I'm really not that good as my upper body strength is nil and I think the other women get a little frustrated with my slowness, but still. I hold my own. Sort of.

The beauty of the sport, in my mind, is the syncronicity--one of the coaches says that you have to "dance with the paddler in front of you" and it does feel that way. The surge forward, the fall back, the call of the coxman. The whoosh whoosh of the paddles slicing through water.

The best part, though, is watching the other NY teams practicing on the bay. Most of them are filled with muscular men and a few super-toned women. The speed with which they paddle combined with the fluidity of their movements is mezmerizing. Truly, truly mezmerizing.

Sure, I feel a little like an outsider. (On the regular crew I was the only non-Asian American and the only one who hadn't been practicing since early Spring.) But I did it anyway. I got my ass out there to the bay, and I tried something brand new. Something little old Minerva Jane never in a million years thought she'd be doing. And for that I'm more proud of myself than I've been a hell of a long time.


Blogger peachy said...

thats sounds so fun its nice to do something new.

3 of 20

5:19 AM  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

I think this is incredible. You SHOULD feel proud of yourself. And don't be too hard on yourself regarding upper body strength and endurance, my god, this is the first time you've dome something like this!!! Your upper body strength will improve and your sense of "outsiderness" will go away if you keep it up. Eventually you will have this in common with others in the boating.

I think you are so brave to just go out and try to meet others and participate. I am just new to your blog and don't know how long you've been in Brooklyn but you are doing a great job.

Isn't New York City fantastic!!!????? I would love tthe opportunity to live there for a long time. I have spent lots of time in manhattan over the years, often a month at a time, but not actually lived lived there. good on ya!


10:08 AM  

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