Because we do this for fun now.

Today my butt is sore. And my arms. My back. My pride.

Yesterday, My Place of Employment held practice for an upcoming Dragon Boat Festival, in which 30 teams compete in races down the river in a dragon boat. If you must know exactly what a dragon boat is, Google it. All I know is, this crap is hard.

My Place of Employment has a team in this festival, which is in two weeks. And yesterday, we had practice. And by "practice," I mean the few stragglers who showed up got their (and my) butts kicked in a 40-foot long, 500-pound boat, equipped with paddles.

Twenty people stuff into an over-sized canoe of sorts (see photos), and paddle to the beat of a drum, with an end goal of beating another crew of paddlers. Uh, fun. Er, no. Not so much fun as "what are we doing and why?!"

Since half our team was missing, The Fiance, who strictly came along for moral support, and to read the same Golf Digest magazine he's been reading at my place for three months over and over and over because, MY GOD, golf NEVER gets old, was sent kicking and screaming to the waiver-signing table to sign his life away and join our team. He reluctantly threw Golf Digest back into the car, and sat through the "safety and instruction" portion of practice.

Dragon Boat Man said phrases such as "in case the boat tips over" and "getting trapped under the boat," and he shouted a lot of commands and I, quite frequently, winced, in direct fear of my young life. The Fiance secretly wanted to break off the engagement because WHY do I get him involved in these things? And dammit, he'd SO much rather be reading Golf Digest.

And also yesterday it was cold and raining and windy. Mostly a REALLY good time to pack into a canoe for a day of paddling and good cheer. Er, no, that's not really what happened.

Twenty-one of us (our team picked up a few stragglers, including The Fiance, to make up for our lack of team members) piled into our, uh, dragon boat, or "giant, unstable canoe," and took forth to the river, which was actually warmer than the outside air and rain, and made tipping over sound like a day at the carnival. Even though I don't really like carnivals. You know, carnie folk, and such. But still, tipping = much cooler option. Well, I guess "warmer" option would be the correct phrase.

And so practice ensued. And I repeatedly doused myself in river water because, dammit, I'm horrible, and paddling was HARD because there's, like, rules and commands and correct ways of doing things that do not involve hiding under your seat and screaming.

And our drummer? Who was supposed to be keeping us on a steady, paddling beat? No. She was no good. And we were all out of synch. And, people, synchronous paddling is KEY to the SPORT OF DRAGON BOAT RACING, do you not UNDERSTAND?

And then we "raced" another practicing team. And that's funny because, really, what we did was lose. Hardcore-like. And it was a mockery. And somewhere in Canada, where dragons come from, I hear, dragons were laughing at us, disgusted in our futile attempt at living.

So we paddled back to the docks, heads hanging low, arms sore, DRENCHED, and left practice defeated, and praying that the river would dry up and this Dragon Boat Festival would be cancelled. Er, wait. That was totally just me.

And today? My butt is sore. And my arms. And back. And, why God, did you ever create dragons? Or, was that not you?

(Photo credit: the top photo is courtesy of TheNorthwestern.com)