Happy Purple Family – CB’s story on culture at Sloths Dragon boat club
Often enough, we focus on the competitive side of engaging in sport and forget about the transformative qualities in can have in those participating. Today, we’re hearing from CB from the Sloths Dragon boat club on how much of an impact her local club had on her personal life, and how their culture of family like values transformed her world.
Being a sports enthusiast, CB was always eager to get involved in sport, whether that be water polo or rowing, she found it thrilling to be a part of the camaraderie and competitiveness of community sport. Due to work commitments and the ongoing pandemic, getting involved in recent times had been challenging, but her passion never wavered.
It wasn’t long before CB was introduced to Dragon boating, and it was safe to say she immediately loved it.
“to join such a sociable, kind and inclusive club truly made my heart sing. I was also so heartened at my first regatta to see what an inclusive and friendly sport dragon boating is. And when I say inclusive I mean cultural, LGBTQI+, ability, fitness and age. It is so lovely to be involved in such a welcoming sport.”
Unfortunately, that is when tragedy hit.
CB was diagnosed with a serious health problem that halted her ability to participate in her beloved sport.
“I went from exercising vigorously 5 – 6 times a week to not being able to do more than a brisk walk. You can imagine what that did to my already compromised mental health.”
With her health and personal life in turmoil due to her illness, CB was understandably struggling to cope with this sudden change of lifestyle, and long missed her newfound passion and close allies that was her Dragon boat crew.
However, it is in dark times that goodness truly shines.
“Throughout that time, so many of my Sloth team-mates reached out to me. I had offers of socially distanced walks in the park, gentle canoe paddles and social events on Zoom – anything to keep me mobile and engaged. I hadn’t even done a full season with the team and yet all these people were making the effort to check in and make sure I still felt very much a part of the club. It blew my mind and warmed my heart. I feel like I’ve been in the club for years and am so humbled by the care that was extended to me”
CB gave a particular shout out to her club President, Chen, who went above and beyond to offer her emotional support during her darkest time. CB hopes to get back into Dragon boating when her health picks back up, and says her only regret is “not getting involved in dragon boating sooner!”
Chen outlined that ‘one thing the club strives for is a “happy purple family” – we can only achieve success on the water when there’s this bond in the team’.
This story is a wonderful example of how pivotal a brilliant club culture can be on the individuals who participate in your club. Creating an environment that entitles everybody to a sense of belonging and mutual respect can do wonders for everyone involved, particularly if they are experiencing personal battles themselves. Transforming your club to create a family like bond is no easy feat and it should be celebrated in its totality.
Sports Community would like to offer a huge congratulations to the Sloths Dragon boat club for this astonishing achievement, who understand that a great club culture is any club’s most precious asset.