It has been 12 years since Partners participated in the Canoe Races at The Rivers of America at Disneyland. Our team, Oar-U-Kidding-Me, consisted of nine cast members from different Partners branches. Last year, I was a volunteer and created magic for the crew teams at the race. After watching all of the different teams have fun and compete against each other, I knew I had to be part of a canoe team next year. Fast forward to this year, I was ready to row for my life, and win!
Although, most of the team didn’t have any training on how to row, Paul, our captain, helped everyone get familiar with the different aspects of rowing and steering. This was a huge help, especially since I was assigned as one of the rear steers. The role of a rear steer is to direct the canoe in the right direction when it’s time to make a sharp turn around the course. This position comes with the added pressure to keep the canoe pointed in the correct direction which was difficult for me to take on, but I challenged myself to try and do my best.
After the qualifiers we received our placement in the division. Ready to beat out our competitors, Oar-U-Kidding-Me huddled up the day before to get pumped for race day. I arrived at the waiting area at 5:30 am to meet up with my teammates… anxiously waiting for our turn to race and determined to reach the top 3.
The gun fires and we are off! Water splashes in my face as the rowers match Paul’s rhythmic chant “Row. Row. Row. And Switch.” You can hear the sound of the paddles as each one plunges into the river moving our canoe
farther and faster. We bank left around the floating barrels, glide past the Mark Twain, and come into the home stretch passing the Pirate’s Layer to cross the finish line with a sub 6 minute time.
All of us were cheering and high-fiving each other near Splash Mountain while waited for the results. After the last team finished, the results came in and we were in disbelief that we got edged out of the top 3 by 1 second! Although, we did not make the top 3, we came out as winners!
Oar-U-Kidding-Me will always have a special place in my heart.
formerly authored by Diego B. from Partners