"Don't aspire to be the best ON the team, aspire to be the best FOR the team"
Coach Bob Kane
10 years in the Sport
Member of the National Sprint Champion Leathernecks Team
Coached the American Eagles in Ravenna Italy
Competed in the Team Championship in Hong Kong
Currently the Coach of the Warriors, FDNY343 and Sparta70
From the desk of Bob Kane:
I have been preparing a team to participate in international competition for a new class D, specifically designated for paddlers 70 years of age and older. Our coaching staff has focussed on the challenge of training senior athletes for over two years. Our strength is in unity of command and teamwork. We accomplish this by developing a strong foundation in rhythm and synchronization. We are currently developing a conditioning program that is unique and particularly suited for athletes 70 and older.
Coach Bob Kane started the Sparta 70 team about three years ago. It includes dragon boat paddlers, steerers, and drummers from many of the teams already part of the Grand Masters Dragon Boating (GMDB) – for example, there are many members of Sparta70 who belong to the . Other members belong to the team, , and the . Many members have years of dragon boat experience and that makes for a remarkable practice and team camaraderie. Coach Bob saw the need for a team for those of us who are 70 years old (and older) to be able to continue to paddle and compete on a level playing field. Therefore, members of the “Official Sparta70" must be 70 years or older and will represent the United States for the first time this year in a new Division D World Competition class for seniors. We currently have 22 Active Core members who attend practices on a regular basis. There are 53 additional members who are unable to attend practices on a regular basis but are still considered part of the team. The common thread in all of this – is our Coach – Bob Kane who has coached numerous teams and is the "father" of Sparta70.
"The roots of dragon boat racing date back to the 4th Century BC in China. According to legend, Qu Yuan, a revered poet and statesman, hurled himself into the Mi Lo River to protest the corrupt regime of the reigning Chou Dynasty emperor. When local boatmen saw Qu Yuan disappear beneath the water, they raced out to save him. Sadly, they were too late.
"Fearing that his body would be preyed upon by fish and evil spirits and other denizens of the river, the boatmen beat their paddles furiously upon the water. It is said that they also threw rice dumplings wrapped in silk into the river as a sacrifice to his heroic spirit.
"Over time, dragon boat racing became a way to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan and to celebrate his heroic spirit. Today, Qu Yuan's death is honoured each year on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month at Dragon Boat Festivals around the world. Rice dumplings are now considered a festival delicacy and are wrapped today in bamboo leaves instead of silk. Before each festival ancient blessing rituals such as 'Awakening the Dragons' (rousing the dragon boats to life by a special eye-dotting ceremony) are performed."