When Julius Gabriel M. Taccad first joined the DLSU Dragon Boat team during his freshman year, he didn’t imagine that he would have a huge responsibility later in the future. “It was more of trying out something new and finding a home in a new environment.”
It was indeed a new setting for Taccad as he studied in Ateneo for both Grade School and High School. The former Blue Babble Battalion member shares that it took him time before he got the hang of coping in Taft since most of his friends went to the Katipunan-based school for college. “Being in DLSU, I had to start all over again, but being part of an org was a way for me to find a home,” he adds.
Road to captaincy
Taccad states that he started out by joining the team’s trainings without even having any experience, before eventually trying out. The process in trying out was physically and mentally draining for him but it was all worth it since he eventually got in and fell in love with the sport. “I knew it would be hard and true enough namatay ako sa tryout,” he explains.
“Being a paddler means having to go to trainings and making sure you get stronger everyday, while enjoying the company of your teammates. This experience focuses more on myself and enjoying the grind,” the third year AB-PSYCH student responds when asked about the experience of being a regular member.
After a couple of years with the team, Taccad was eventually appointed as the new team captain just last January. He has credited the guidance of the previous team captains as they helped him shape who he is today. “I’d say na natuwa ako nung nalaman ko na pinagkakatiwalaan ako ng team.”
Now being the team captain, Taccad says that his current role entails more responsibility compared to being a regular member because he literally has to lead an actual boat with eager paddlers. He also has to keep his teammates inspired and help them reach their maximum potential.
With trainings usually set early in the morning, the former Atenean shares that searching and bringing out the hunger of each paddler to compete and hone their skills is the hardest part of being the team captain.
Due to a diverse set of colleagues in the squad, Taccad perfectly sums up the experience of building the team chemistry of around 20 individuals. “Matututo ka makisama sa lahat ng uri ng tao.”
Even though Taccad has encountered a lot of difficulties after being selected as the leader of the squad, he shares that there are still a lot of positives in this new adventure. “One thing I love about being a team captain is seeing the improvement and happiness of the team when they give their best.”
Local and international competitions
Since his appointment as the new team captain, the Dragon Boat team has participated in one international race and two local races. The former was held in Boracay last April 26-28 wherein the participants were a mix of local and foreign teams. According to Taccad, it was the most number of teams in Philippine dragon boat history. Despite the number of participants in the competition, the women’s team was able to bag a fourth place finish in the 250m small boat event.
The local event, Club Crew, was held last March and June of this year. It was a two-leg event wherein only local teams competed, with the mixed team placing fourth in the 300m event.
Individually, Taccad shares that representing the Philippines against the best college teams in the world was one incident that will stick to him for a long time.
His most memorable experience with the team, however, was the 12th Boracay International Festival. “[It was memorable] because the team had to compete against others team from all over the world. It was also memorable because it was the final event that happened before boracay temporarily closed and thankfully we got to bring home a trophy before that,” Taccad explains.
Advocating the sport
The sport has been making waves lately but Taccad still wants it to be exposed more in our country due to the unique experience it brings. Listing it as an official sport in the UAAP might be one way to boost the sport’s popularity according to him.
He’s banking on the DLSU community and the rest of the participating UAAP schools to make this possible. “Hopefully other universities make their respective teams as well.”