By Randy Economy
August 1, 2010
I want to give a HUGE shout-out to the great folks over at NBC 4 News here in Los Angeles for highlighting our very own and much loved "Blind Start America" and founder Brian Tom who are competing at this weekends Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival.
I went down to Long Beach on Saturday....to connect with Brian and all my "peeps" at Blind Start America to wish them success in the annual competition. The only problem I had on Saturday was attempting to find a parking place in Belmont Shore. No luck. No parking within 2 miles from Mom's Beach. Will try again on Sunday...
Here is the coverage from the NBC 4 News tonight. Thanks to Rebecca Nieto for Producing this spot and to Fritz Coleman.
Blind paddlers are out to prove that you don't need sight to have a vision of victory.
Blind Team Enters Long Beach Dragon Boat RaceBy Rebbeca Nieto
NBC 4 News Los Angeles
Strong. Competitive. Determined. The Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival attracts some of the world's most elite race teams for this ancient Chinese sport.
It also welcomes teams facing extreme odds. This year is no different, as a boat filled with blind paddlers will take to the water.
Newly formed "Blind Start" represents a non-profit group of the same name. President and founder Brian Tom became blind due to severe glaucoma.
He thought a racing team of blind and visually impaired paddlers would prove that you don't need sight to have a vision -- a vision to win, a vision to become strong, contributing adults.
The team members' paddles are painted to represent the white and red colors of their walking canes, which they say provide the strength and independence necessary to live a full life.
Also on the boat this weekend are sighted paddlers. They have agreed to wear blindfolds so they can experience what their blind teammates endure during a race. There's also a blind a Capella trio on board. "Pure Sounds of Out A Sight" provides the music and spirit to power "Blind Start" to victory. You can cheer on "Blind Start" and other teams this weekend at the 14th Annual Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival at the Long Beach Marine Stadium. That's just off Appian Way and adjacent to Mother's Beach (directions). There is food, traditional crafts and of course, the dragon boat races.