Posts Tagged ‘Taylin’
Our team might still be reigning champion of the Lake Atwood Days canoe races. I can’t verify this. So, for now, I’ll assume that we are. Please don’t notify me if I am wrong.
Several years ago my brother-in-law Phil Priebe, nephew Taylin Hein and I spontaneously entered the three person canoe races at the Annual Lake Atwood Days.
No one liked our chances to win. Not even us. The competition included three high school Boy Scouts who had just returned from a weeklong canoe trip in Nebraska.
But, Phil and I had raced together before in the Manhattan to Lawrence race upon the Kaw. Could we regain our college form? Or, would our college form be an even greater handicap?
This was a good year for Lake Atwood. The entire lake was full. There was a good three to four feet of water. Plenty for canoe races.
We made it to the finals. So did the Boy Scouts. They were rightfully feeling a great deal of confidence.
The course was short and simple. The starting line was near the boat ramp. Teams were required to paddle about 100 meters to the west, circle the buoy (aka Fr. Damian Richards), and return past the starting line.
The race began as everyone expected. The scouts opened up a large, early lead. Our goal was to be respectable. We just tried to keep our canoe strait and paddle in unison.
The scouts rounded the buoy well before we did and we lost sight of them, since our backs were to them now. We approached the buoy and started to veer off course. That’s when we experienced Divine intervention.
We were headed straight for the buoy. A collision was imminent. The water was about chest deep on Father Damian – the buoy. He tried to evade us but it’s hard to move quickly in chest deep water.
Father Damian grabbed hold of our canoe and spun us around. He gave us a push back toward the start/finish line and simultaneously straightened our course.
When we looked forward, we noticed the scouts had run into trouble. Perhaps they had grown over confident. I don’t know. But, they had moved to close to shore and got hung up in the rocks. They were stalled.
We paddled harder thinking we might have a chance. We might even have broken a sweat. We moved past the scouts just as they freed themselves from the rocks. We were too close to the finish line for them to recover.
Victory was ours. We lifted our hands and ours in the air savoring the moment. Guided by the hand of a Father fleeing in self-defense, our win must have been pre-ordained.
We returned the next year to defend our title. But, alas, there was no water in the lake. We would continue as defending champion by default for another year.
Lake Atwood is once again full of water, or so I am told. Perhaps our team will return to defend our crown. Or, perhaps, it is better to retire as champions.