Apparently, I Can’t Ride a Boat

On Saturday, August 12, from 3:30-6pm, my friends and I built a cardboard boat, and attempted to race it across the Sierra Recreation and Fitness Center Pool.

We were given two large, cardboard boxes, a roll of silver duct tape, and a new X-acto knife (in the package!). We had 60 minutes to mess around and figure out how on earth to get 16-year-old-me across a lap pool against kids a third of my size.

We decided a canoe shape would stand out aerodynamically and also look cool. We used a red pen to trace the outline of one cardboard box and had great ideas while listening to Hamilton. We made flaps to keep the edges together and coated it in duct tape.

Soon families began to cart their boats to the pool. Their boats looked very different from ours! We wondered if this was a good or bad thing. We looked back on our hard work and realized in our strategic placing of cardboard and duct tape, we had forgotten to include the other cardboard box! We hastily taped together supporting poles from the other box and hobbled the odd raft to the pool as an employee insisted we’d be disqualified in seconds.

We waited for our team name, Wrong Direction, to be called, and lined up on the bright poolside. I was the smallest, so I had been nominated to maneuver the raft. I was given a plastic, green shovel to navigate the treacherous water. How I was going to get in, I did not know. My friend etched the boat over the pool’s peak, and when he megaphone blared “GO!” I nervously put one foot in the boat and it instantly collapsed under my weight.

Laughing, I sunk into the chlorinated water and held onto the soggy, floating cardboard to try and recompose myself. The failure of our creation was magical and hilarious. It took me a while to stop giggling and not-so-gracefully heave myself out of the water. Wrong Direction did not care at all that our hard work and been reduced to mush because creating it and watching me sink (mainly watching me sink) was an as good as a reward as any.

We had so much fun, and will definitely be staying updated with the Sierra Recreation and Fitness Center’s activities, as I recommend you do as well.

-Jessica F.