In the early morning hours of September 9th, 2017, TIP of NW Florida volunteers, the families, and friends, gathered in Bayview Park with determination in their eyes and a winning spirit in their hearts. This would be the year of redemption for team “Trauma Tippers*” at Pensacola’s Dragon Boat Festival…or so we’d hoped.
*Note: we panicked when asked for our team name, next year we’ll do better!
As a charity benefit for the Gulf Coast Kid’s House, a local not-for-profit advocacy center for children of abuse, more than 40 organizations throughout our community came together, competed, & had a fun time, all while raising $40,000.
Time To Race
The Trauma Tippers were notoriously known around “athlete’s village,” or the gathering place for all the teams, as the bad news bears of rowing, having come in last place in 2016. As the first race for our team kicked off, we were living up to our reputation, as we found ourselves rowing right into last place.
After a little reorganizing ourselves in the dragon boat, (A dragon boat is a long, narrow canoe that seats 20 paddlers in 10 rows. A steersperson (btw, our steersperson was a true motivator) standing in the stern uses a 9’ oar as a rudder and a drummer at the bow of the boat by the dragon’s head.) by the 2nd heat we were like a well-oiled machine, coming in first place!
The excitement in the air was almost palpable, as Team Trauma Tippers (who by this point began calling ourselves, Just the TIPs), strolled confidently down to the loading dock for our final race, hellhounds leading the pack.
Note: Our hellhounds consisted of a very cuddly pup named Teddy (the doggie on the right in the image below) brought by one of our team members and his twin who happened to be playing in the nearby dog park with her owners.
With our gladiator game faces on, our team rowed with all we had. As the finishing flag waved, team Trauma Tippers had rowed ourselves right into 2nd place….and we were ecstatic.
Back in athlete’s village, we celebrated, high-fiving the surrounding teams, as we were bad new bears no more.
At the closing ceremony, we were pleasantly surprised to hear our names called for “Best Drummer,” and victoriously, held our winning paddle high! The best part of our win came when we were provided the opportunity to address to the crowd and share how TIP of NW Florida assists members of our local community when they are in their darkest hour.
We look forward to next year’s competition, where we are sure to do better—if not athletically, then surely in our fundraising efforts for the Gulf Coast Kid’s House.