Zuri Scrivens ~ Novice Diary Part One

14_Zuri_Scrivens_2014_FORTitude_Novice-websize-268x300 Having played and coached rugby for 17 years, both my body and mind were craving being  involved in a team sport. Nearing the end of my treatment, I longed to find a sport that would provide me with the same team fulfillment as rugby, but without the same level of physical wear and tear as comes with being on the pitch. My body had been through enough what with chemo, radiation and multiple surgeries, but I desperately missed the feeling of physically exerting myself with a great group of people in order to accomplish powerful and uplifting things.

So, after much thought, I turned to the elusive dragon boat. My godmother has been dragon boating for years now, and though I have watched a few races in the past, the sport was still somewhat of a mystery to me.

It took me close to a year to finally commit to my decision and sign up to join the wonderful ladies at FORT-itude. Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical about joining a team of breast cancer survivors. I worried that being a younger woman with breast cancer – first diagnosed at the age of 33 – would single me out. That despite being on a team, I might still feel very much alone. However, I could not have been more wrong. After my first few practices on the water, it became very clear to me that there really is no age on the boat. We were 22 or so women on the boat, all having travelled similar paths, and were now working toward the same goals. Age was, and is, irrelevant, and joining this team of warriors quickly became the best decision I had made in a long time.

Every time we set off from our dock in Fort Langley, I am filled with tremendous pride and a welcome amount of peace. The beauty of the Fraser, even on the coldest of wet days, never seems to grow old, and I am continually gobsmacked by what I now refer to as my “A-ha” moment. That moment when I quickly glance down the boat (something a novice on a short break is lucky enough to do), and see all of these fierce women in synch, paddling strong and driving that boat along the river like a well-oiled machine. That moment when I think to myself, “WOW! All of these women have had breast cancer in some way, shape or form. All of them have fought their own intense, roller-coaster of a battle; and yet, here they are, healthy, whole and thriving! For some of them it has been years since they were diagnosed, and yet, they are all here!”

I’m guessing this is not the thought that your average dragon boater has while paddling away, but being an Abreast In A Boat dragon boater is something special indeed. It is that “A-ha” moment that continues to give me hope for my own ongoing health, and the strength to keep moving forward on the water, and in life. Roll on race season!!