The Saturday of Anniversary Weekend means only one thing to the man and me – come hell or high water, the day will be spent at the Mahurangi Regatta.
And it’s been this way since our kids were littlies. It’s a family tradition, you see.
In the early days, more often than not, the two grandmothers would join us. Sadly, the years have passed and both Hilda and Dorothy are no longer with us.
But our family picnic group has not diminished in size, it has grown. Firstly, each of our three children introduced a partner to the mix; one brought with them our delightful step-grandson. Then, last year, our daughter and son in law introduced their three month old daughter to the tradition. This year our granddaughter was joined by her seven month old cousin. Our picnic group now stands at 11, with, no doubt, a few more additions still to come.
The thing that the man and I find most gratifying about all this is that the children choose to come. They have continued the family tradition with no prompting from us. We, therefore, think it is here to stay.
Having said this, change is inevitable. Always.
The man is coming to terms with this at the moment. Let me explain. For those who don’t know, the man is a mad keen sea kayaker and has been since he discovered the sport as a 30 or so year old lad in the early nineties.
At the same time he discovered kayaking was the sport for him, he also found out that he was very competitive. Go figure? Yes, the Stone family travelled up and down NZ so the man could take part in many a kayak race. And by the medals clanging around in his drawer, he was pretty successful – not in the league of MacDonald and Ferg*, of course, but successful all the same.
Now each year since about 1993 the man has taken part in the Mahurangi Regatta kayak race. Most years the man has taken out first place. Except in 2015 and 2016, he didn’t. Those years he had to settle for second.
In 2018 this changed again. Yesterday he came third. A close third, but third nonetheless.
So yes, third’s not bad. Except there were only three competitors.
The man, to put it mildly, was far from thrilled. I view it differently though: he should be pleased. You see, the reality is my almost 62 year old partner can paddle way longer and faster than most of the general population.
So instead of him feeling disappointed with himself for being beaten by some younger bucks, which they were, I have convinced him to continue competing.
Why? Well, the old bugger loves it. And hey, there is something to be said about not giving up, not to mention being the oldest competitor taking part each year.
So I have no doubt that as long as he is able to crawl into his lovely kayak, he will continue racing at the Mahurangi Regatta.
And as long as he is racing, the kids, their kids and I will be standing there cheering him on!
*Ian and Paul paddled Olympic class kayaks in the K1s, K2s and K4s competitions – sea kayaks are quite different!