|PVCA||Open B||1st (2:14.95)|
|Mixed I||2nd (2:08.41)|
While the founding core paddled in 1996/1997, it was not until 1998 that the team truly began to coalesce as friends, family, and co-workers were brought into the fold.
The yellow shirts were our "uniform" and were Pomona Valley Chinese Association (PVCA) shirts. Ask a veteran if they still have their yellow shirts or if they remember "Poh-Moh-Nah."
Those who are a new to the team are quickly introduced to the tradition of "dunking" or birthday tossing. After the Long Beach race and on the weekend anywhere close to your birthday, you are treated to a dunk in the refreshing waters of Long Beach *note sarcasm*. For those curious when this tradition started, it might have started prior to 1998, but the first documented cases are at the ICEA Long Beach race in 1998. After two long days in the sun, the sun said, "let those who are hot be dunked" and we obeyed and dunked everyone. Some fought it. Some screamed in delight/terror. But all smiled and laughed.
These were good times and while many have left to pursue their careers, those who were fortunate enough to make their careers in the Los Angeles area have remained devoted dragon boat paddlers. An interesting piece of trivia -- the team at this time was made almost entirely of two groups: high school friends, and co-workers.
It is because of or perhaps in spite of our wins at Long Beach that have propelled us to attempt another race. It was decided to "prepare" for the San Francisco races and the yellow shirts were to be left behind . . .
Kenny reminiscing 2010
I started with PVCA/lard in the summer of 1998. I'd just moved to LA that summer and I wanted to meet people so I came out!
I met Henry Chiang who was working with SueMeng and me at Smithgroup at the time. And Henry knew Leon. It was the Architecture connection that got us all started.
For many of us, it was the first time. For some of us, it would be our only time... but in unity we accomplished more than we dreamed. In only six short weeks, once a week, on a Sunday morning, we bonded in friendship and created one commen goal: to learn the ways of Chinese tradition and become an efficient dragonboat team.
Huey Wee became the heartbeat of the dragonboat, pushing us further and faster with every pounding rhythm even when our muscles burned in agony and our bodies said "no more!" Michael Wang helped us keep the dragon in line as we raced towards the finish line. Leon Cheng, held the team together and showed us how to move gracefully through the water like the majestic dragon from famed Chinese fables.
But the soul of the boat was made up of twenty-two more team members as diverse as the American landscape the race took place in. PVCA dragonbcat soul mates included: Jason Cheng, Henry Chiang, Julieanne Chiang, Tim Chinen, Charles Chung, D'Agostino, John Dang, Tuan Ha, Thomas Havel, Michael Healey, John Kaplan, Max Kiert, Kenny Kim, Greg Kromhout, William Kuan, Sue-Meng Lau, Jeff Lee, Jonathan Lin, Toan Nguyen, Wileen Wong, Wynne Wong and Arther Yeh.
The race lasted two days in the Long Beach Marina. Teams from all over Southern California participated. And over the years, it has become one weekend that unites two worlds in old and new tradition. But that's not the most amazing part... the most amazing part is that a young team full of determination and aspiration, with no past experience to guide them, brought honor to the family that sponsored them. The PVCA dragonboat team took first place in the International Open B Division and second in Division One.
Next year, the eyes on the dragon will be dotted again and when the dragons awaken, the PVCA team will be there to guide them, once again, gracefully and with pride to the finish line.