Our second full day in Vancouver started with sea kayaking at Jericho Beach. After a short bus ride, we were dropped off at the beach and introduced to our group leaders. They fitted us into our “PFDs,” otherwise known as our personal floating devices. In no shape or form were these PFDs attractive or well fitted, but as we learned later, rules #1, 2, and 3 were to never take them off. Brought down to the beach, the team climbed into single and double kayaks and made sure all the settings were correctly fitted. The group leaders gave us a quick kayaking lesson that echoed terms we all knew too well, such as “arms at a 90 degree angle” and “fire your core.” Finally ready to enter the water, the team launched their boats and took off.
Jericho Beach was surrounded by Vancouver’s diverse landscape. In one direction you could see the city’s surrounding mountain range while on the others you could see the city skyline of West Vancouver. After paddling for around 30 minutes, the team was given its first team bonding task that included making a starfish out of our boats. This may sound like an easy task, but it took us almost 10 minutes to finally get all of our boats in formation. Once all of our kayaks resembled a starfish rather than a highly mutated blob, we quickly broke apart and continued on our journey.
Kayaking for this long length of time was definitely tiring for our arms, but it did not stop us from fooling around in the least. From our ‘reckless driving’ of kayak bumper cars to continual splashing, we made sure to enjoy the team bonding and beautiful surroundings as we paddled. Some girls on the team even got to see a seal in the water as they paddled around. I must admit, I think the best prank pulled on the kayaking tour was done by myself and sophomore Brooke Kelly. We were in a double together and realized that without the kayak’s rudder in the water it was almost impossible to turn properly in the wavy sea water. Coming up close to Cory’s double, Brooke quickly lifted up his kayak’s rudder without him noticing and then the two of us sped away. After almost 5 minutes of Cory struggling with his turns and confusion with his pedal mechanics, senior Sarah Crist finally helped out him with his rudder. With tears of laughter running down our faces, we knew it was a mission well accomplished and hoped we wouldn’t be paying for this prank later.
A second team bonding exercise was given to the team as we were asked to line up to form a raft. Once all the boats were lined up, we were introduced to the game “piano keys race.” This game basically included two people getting out from their kayaks and racing around the line of kayaks. The first pair up was senior Mary Hobbs and junior Bryn Bissey. On their hands and knees, the two of them scooted around the line of kayaks. Hobbs eventually won the race, but not before Bissey was dunked, as she fell between two separated kayaks. Other races included Sarah Crist versus Coach Cox, junior Megan Holt versus sophomore Jen DiMaria, and sophomore Catherine Aronowitz versus sophomore Sedona Murphy. The races left everyone winded and laughing, as the sight of everyone falling and clinging on for dear life was greatly amusing.
The last team bonding experience on our sea kayaking tour was a final race. We all lined up at the starting line and took off hoping to win. What we did not realize when starting this race was that (1) we were fighting against a very strong current and (2) the finish line was much further away than what we expected. A lot of us started the race off strong, but we quickly realized this ‘hidden conditioning’ was going to leave us drained. After what felt like forever, a bunch of us reached the finish line completely exhausted with numb arms. With our desire for kayaking quenched, the team headed back onto shore and said our goodbyes to our group leaders before handing back to the hotel for lunch.
Our afternoon consisted of conditioning and our last clinic. We found out earlier that day that our conditioning for the day was…THE RUN TEST! The news may have ruined our appetite for lunch, but we all manned up and went into the test with a positive attitude. We drove to the field for our conditioning and when we arrived we found out we would be starting our conditioning with some speed and agility runs, just the sprinkles on top of our run test. After Cory ran us through the warm up and quick agility sprints, we took the field for our run test. Twenty minutes later the test was over and the results were overwhelmingly positive. There was a lot of visible improvement giving the team a huge surge of confidence heading into pre-season next week. From the continuous words of encouragement, one could also tell there was strong team camaraderie. With the conditioning out of the way, the team was able to focus on our final clinic led by Thea and Michelle. After two hours of hard play, the team left it all on the field and headed back to the hotel tired with a feeling of accomplishment.
For dinner the team headed out to a local restaurant named Yaletown Brewery. The team and the entire coaching staff enjoyed a meal together relaxing and looking forward to the next day that included white water rafting on the Chilliwak River.