One of the new clubs sponsored by Brock Sports is catching the attention of many in the school and in the community. Dragon Boat, which got its official go ahead in the spring, is set to take off this fall for its inaugural season.
Dragon boat racing, a team sport that involves 20 people paddling, has never been a club at Brock before. With sites like the Welland Recreational Canal, it will easily find its place in the community. Many other universities across southern Ontario field a dragon boat team, including McMaster, Guelph, York, Western, and two teams at the University of Toronto.
Brian Roy, who is a professor in and chair of the Kinesiology department, will be the head coach for Dragon Boat at Brock after a number of years of experience in the sport himself. “A number of students approached me, they were keen on getting it started,” Roy said of theattempts to get dragon boat going at Brock. “This is the first time students have approached me about the club, Brock as a community organization has entered teams in charitable dragon boat events, but this is the first time we have tried to develop a competitive team.”
Roy said the process to get a club started is well structured, “It’s a really good process, they have good set standards in place, it’s about setting up a responsible club team that will have some longevity to it, they have to establish that there is interest, Brock Sports has been really supportive of the whole process.”
Roy explained that the personnel for their first season is mixed.
“Dragon boat is a really inclusive sport, there are a lot of categories (women’s cruise, open, and mixed) a lot of students hear about it and gain interest in it,” said Roy.
One of the courses Roy teaches, KINE 3P13, is an opportunity for students to learn a bit about dragon boat, “It’s a fitness course, I take that class Dragon Boating in the fall and they show a lot of interest, [right now] we have interest across all four years.” Roy said he hopes to have some interest from all years, “We’re looking forward to introducing more people to the sport, it’s one of those unknown sports, it’s a good team sport.”
Sean Sabbatini, the club president, who has been competing in dragon boat racing since high school, said that dragon boat, “…is a phenomenal sport, it’s a workout you don’t get in any other sport, a unique experience.” When asked about the process of getting the club started from the student side, Sabbatini credited Roy’s involvement in the dragon boat community, as well as the number of people who worked to build the student interest, “A couple of people tried to get it started on their own, but needed more than just two,” Sabbatini said, “We met at the kinesiology conference, from there we all split up, tried to hit as many different classes as we could.”
Thought the interest in the club was substantial enough for it to be sponsored by Brock Sports, Sabbatini noted that they are far from finished yet. The club will look to get its crew together following tryouts on September 13 and 18.
Though the Dragon Boat season can be easily dictated by weather, Sabbatini said they expect to be on the water into late October, and hope to be back out in April before their two festivals in the spring (the Milton Dragon Boat Festival and the Welland Dragon Boat Festival).
Going off-site for their practices, Roy said, “On water we will be partnering with the South Niagara Canoe Club in Welland,” Roy talked about the facilities available to them in the area, noting, “The Welland Recreational Canal is one of the best dragon boat venues in the world, the Canadian National Championships are going to be hosted there for roughly the next eight years.”
A major difference between club sports and varsity sports is that clubs are student-run.
“I want to get them together and decide on our team goals,” said Roy. ”The difference between a club team and a varsity team, we know what the varsity teams goals are going to be, but with a club team, it’s up to the club members what their goals are.”
Brock will host tryouts for the Dragon Boat team on September 13 and 18.