All aboard! : the MOV group is recruiting with Community Paddles | News, Sports, Jobs


Photo by Kerry Patrick Mid-Ohio Valley Dragon Boat member Donna Kennedy, left, coaches Marietta’s Rachel Carter on the paddle erg during last Saturday’s community paddles at the Marietta High School Boathouse.

Betsy Iller has a background in paddleboarding, kayaking and rafting.

When she joined the Marietta-based dragon boat team a year ago, she experienced a new level of personal fulfillment.

“I’m always happy on, in and around the water,” said Iller, who exudes a sense of youth at the age of 66. “I moved to Marietta from Maine to be with my aunt in the fall of 2020 and she told me I had to join the dragon boat team. I worked virtually from September to May and was unable to meet anyone.

“I got an email from (Judy Seitz, Mid-Ohio Valley Dragon Boat team president) and she said they would like me to come, so I did. It’s really became my community. That’s where I met like-minded women, the same age and I like what I like.

Last Saturday at the Marietta High School Boathouse on Gilman Avenue, the dragon boat team continued their series of community paddlers. Their goal is to raise community awareness and recruit new paddlers.

Rachel Carter of Marietta took advantage of Community Paddle Day for community members interested in joining the Marietta-based Mid-Ohio Valley Dragon Boat Team. (Photo by Kerry Patrick)

In the first week of the event, a total of eight people were taken out on the Muskingum River to introduce them to the sport. The series will continue every Saturday until the end of August, unless the “dragon ladies” attend a festival where the boats compete.

This week, several members join a group of women representing the Kentucky Thorough-Breasts dragon boat team for a festival in Buffalo.

“We had great feedback this first week and I think our eight new paddlers really enjoyed it. said MJ Ebenhack, who recently celebrated his 70th birthday and organizes the Community Paddle Series. She is also co-chair of the team’s outreach committee. “We emphasize fun, fitness and friendship. This is our theme.

“With this Saturday series, we keep two questions in mind. Are there any men in the community who would like to dragon boat?

And secondly, with our team training from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, it’s right after dinner time and it’s difficult for some of us who are engaged – is it a time when people in the community can attend? »

Community paddles are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. every Saturday through August 27 at the Marietta High School Boathouse (814 Gilman Avenue in Marietta). No community paddles are scheduled for this week, July 23 and August 6. The Mid-Ohio Valley Dragon Boat Team is expected to participate in festivals on these dates.

Individuals must be 18 years of age or older and fully vaccinated. For more information, contact or (740) 434-5638. Team information is also available on Facebook.

Former football official John Mentink is a gentleman who returned for a second visit last Saturday. The 69-year-old Parkersburg resident expressed interest due to his wife’s comments. Susan Eberts-Mentink is a breast cancer survivor. She had back problems, but joining the dragon boat team and working her upper body made the pain go away.

“Everyone thinks dragon boating is like canoeing,” said John Mentink. “It’s not because you have to get your arms out and everything out of the water so you don’t interfere with anybody else. You have to be careful with your stroke. It’s about timing.”

Breast cancer survivors aren’t the only people on the team. At 66, Marietta resident Cathy Rees is considered one of the coaches. Last Saturday, she worked with several people on the technique as they sat in a stationary boat moored on the river.

“I want new paddlers to have a positive experience – for this community event, we want people to know that we are compassionate about what we do,” says Rees. “You’d be surprised how many people in the community don’t know about the sport.”

“I went to Warren High School a year before Title IX. I was athletic, but I never had the opportunity to do a team sport until dragon boat. It’s a full year commitment. When the season is over, we prepare for the next season. The goal is to be in better shape than I was the year before. It gets a little harder as I get older.

It is believed that dragon boat racing started 2000 years ago in China. The boats are long and normally contain 20 paddlers, each with an oar, seated in pairs – plus a helmsman and drummer for everyone in sync.

Rees, who spent several years watching her son compete in crew and had a passion for the water, referenced the studies carried out by Dr Don McKenzie on women and breast cancer. Dr. McKenzie is currently a medic for Canada’s National Canoe Team.

“For so long, women who survived breast cancer were told not to do anything with their upper body,” says Rees.

Dr. McKenzie’s findings suggest that there might be a more visible way to challenge the myth than to have a group of breast cancer survivors paddling canoes?

Iller is a breast cancer survivor. She continues an active life. In fact, she arrived at Community Paddle Day on her bike.

“Everyone here is a warrior”, Iler said. Whether you have breast cancer or something else, you are not that old and you have no obstacles.

Judy Seitz, who at the age of 66 is entering her third year as president of the Mid-Ohio Valley Dragon Boat Team, is impressed by the effort and desire of these women who have overcome breast cancer.

“They motivate me all the time because some of them are the strongest and most committed paddlers,” said Seitz.

This past offseason, the organization retired The Wilds. A total of 11 members attended a camp in Florida. They lived in the same house, the alarm clock was set at 5 am and the majority of the day was spent paddling.

“We went to Florida in three cars and lived together in a house there for camp,” said Seitz. “And 11 women can live together in a house and get along.

“I feel like the heart of my friendships goes through that.”

From beginner to expert paddler, the Mid-Ohio Valley Dragon Boat Team does not discriminate. Community Paddle Day attracted Rachel Carter of Marietta, who moved from Las Vegas to the Mid-Ohio Valley just over a year ago.

“I took a few lessons and was lucky enough to be in a plastic kayak in a swimming pool. There you go upside down – so that’s it for the boat experience. Carter said. “With the dragon boat, I’m a beginner trying to read the water.

“I was in pain on the outside. It was just a matter of keeping tight form. It’s like throwing a pickax because it’s all up front. Less canoeing and more pickaxing.

Contact Kerry Patrick at [email protected]

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