Friendship at the Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races

Edited 6/8: See update.

The punchline:
The Rose Festival Friendship Dragon Boat Race officials then proceeded to accuse Team Dragonfish and Silent Dragons of cheating. And in a display of friendship, the Silent Dragons taught Team Dragonfish the sign for ‘bullshit’.

Click to see the whole story.


It’s always fun to go down to the Dragon Boat races. There’s no prize money, there’s no international standings or anything, but these teams train hard and spend a lot of money to enter this race. My friend paddles for Team Dragonfish, which has been a team for five years and paddling under the sponsorship of Dragonfish Cafe for at least three years. If you’re from Portland, you might remember them as the boat that kind of went wonky last year. The excitement starts at 1:42, watch the boat on the far left.

But they came back after that and took 1st overall in the division.

This year? The flag catcher almost fell off the boat.

BUT! Then there was more drama. You see, they instituted a new way of IDing paddlers. When it was explained to me later, I kept interrupting asking silly questions*, but the gist of it was that somehow between last week when the captain alphabetized and handed over the paddler IDs and this morning AFTER the first race, two ID cards went missing.

Both were paddlers who’d competed before. As a matter of fact, one of the Rose Festival Friendship Dragon Boat Race officials knew one of the missing-ID paddlers by name. But that didn’t fly, so Team Dragonfish was disqualified.

So was the Silent Dragons. The Silent Dragons is a team of deaf and hard of hearing people.

Well, Team Dragonfish and the Silent Dragons naturally protested this disqualification. The Rose Festival Friendship Dragon Boat Race officials then proceeded to accuse Team Dragonfish and the Silent Dragons of cheating. And in a display of friendship, the Silent Dragons taught Team Dragonfish the American Sign Language word for ‘bullshit’.

*You know, silly questions like, “Where are the photocopies of your driver’s licenses you had to provide with your waivers? What Rose Festival Friendship Dragon Boat Race official checked the cards against the roster with your captain and accepted responsibility for the cards? Were you allowed to create duplicates to be held by the team itself? Were the cards in a sealed envelope? Who has had access to the cards since your captain handed them over? Why didn’t they do the ID process during the marshalling before the race? How much of your personal data is on those cards, and could their disappearance cause issues with identity theft?”

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