Networks – funny how things work out


I was woken this morning (Sunday) by the ringing of my mobile phone. I have a special ring tone for family so knew it had to be either my son or daughter, so I sit bold upright and grab the phone. “Where have the Aurora’s gone?” says my daughter with a tone of distress in her voice “I’m down at Tallebudgera and no one is here”.

Sasha – Journalism Student

Sasha, my daughter, is a journalism student at Bond University, she’s doing a unit called Broadcast Journalism and decided to film the Aurora’s at their dragon boat boot camp. She’d already been down on Friday to do interviews and today was to her final filming. Time was of the essence with an added priority that filming needed to be completed early in the day as there was a friends birthday that needed to be celebrated.

Janelle Gamble, who came into the sport of dragon boat racing through Dragons Abreast, had arranged all the access for Sasha but was not answering her phone. I reassured Sasha that Janelle was more than likely on the water sweeping a boat so unable to get to her phone.  Being the magic Mummy, that my daughter clearly thinks I am,  I made calls to my dragon boat contacts to try and seek out the location of the vanishing Aurora’s  whilst  advising Sasha to start walking up the creek for a look around.

I hung up the phone after speaking to several dragonboaters in Queensland and before I had a chance to call Sasha she rang me saying excitedly “Ï’ve found my paddlers”. Her choice of the word ‘my’ reinforces that dragon boat is a special kind of family. Sasha told me on Friday she had met Joanne Petterson again, it had taken each of them a few moments to place each other,  they had first met when she was 8 years old and we went to the Breast Cancer Regatta in Auckland as part of a Dragons Abreast team.

Sasha has been around dragon boat racing since she was 3 years old due to my involvement and has just recently turned 18. Who would ever have imagined that all these years later, she would be filming dragon boats for a University assignment? Her logic in choosing to cover the Aurora’s stems from the fact that she knows the sport is highly visual so ideal for television. She recognises the Aurora’s are something special for Australia as they represent the pinnacle of our sport and are the team who have the honour of wearing the Green and Gold complete with Coat of Arms on their uniforms. Sasha knows this because last year, as she was going through Year 12 preparations, I had the honour of presenting the race uniforms to the Aurora’s down at the Tallebudgera camp just before they flew to Tampa, Florida. I thought that this year I was well out of the picture – but no, thanks to my daughter I was back in the thick of it this morning – abeit through telephone conversations.

When I first started paddling in Cullen Bay back in 1997 who would ever have thought that my own daughter would be filming dragon boat as part of her journalism studies. The value of our networks should never be underestimated and Sasha knows from first hand experience the value of creating and maximising opportunities as taught by her mother and associates at Dragon Sisters.

Thanks to all my dragon boater network for being so wonderful!

Aurora’s – Grand Masters Women in Action 2011

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