Heather Mercado revisits her rise from novice to member of the World Champion USA Dragon Boat racing team. When she began, she had never heard of the sport of Dragon Boat Racing, but was welcomed into the growing sport by enthusiastic practitioners, and found a calling and new friends.
Dragon Boat racing is based on a traditional Chinese sport. There are several origin stories of the dragon boat, but the most popular is that of poet and state official of the South China Kingdom of Chu, Qu Yuan. It is said that upon hearing that his beloved kingdom was being invaded, he committed suicide by walking into the Miluo River carrying a heavy stone. Friends rushed to try to save him, but failed. Their efforts, however, gave rise to a festival in which boats race across the water to re-enact the tragic event. The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the oldest festivals in the world.