Different Strokes Dragon Boat Club celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. From its small beginnings when nine members entered the club’s first regatta in 2008, the club now has over 100 members with multiple teams competing.
Here is a little story from one of our first members Brigette Sharp…
It was a cold rainy night in May 2008. I climbed the stairs to the meeting room at a pub in Strawberry Hills. There were probably around 30 people there waiting to hear about dragon boating. It was an odd mix of age, gender and ethnicity. The only thing we really had in common was that we were queer. And of course that we wanted to know more about this new and growing sport Dragon Boating.
To be honest I don’t really remember any of the presentation but it must have been good as I signed up as a member and joined the Board on that same night. So began my journey with Different Strokes. In that first year we paddled a pink boat. Talk about being “out there”. We didn’t care though, we were just having fun.
For our first few years, and particularly that first year, paddlers from other clubs would come and stare at us. “Have you seen the gay club” people would say. Never with any animosity, just curiosity I think. Then as the years passed and we had proven our place in the dragon boat community, not just competitively but as a team that contributed on all front, people began to look on us with admiration. Ten years on and we are no longer the token gay team, we are a competitive, fun, well respected team that celebrates the LGBTQI community and our Allys.
It is crazy that it has been ten years! So many memories. So much to celebrate!