In loving memory of our extraordinary and unforgettable coach

Rodger Garfinkle

Rodger Garfinkle was a dedicated parent, teacher and coach; that defined his life more than anything else. Rodger and his wife, Linda Lee, discovered the wonderful sport of dragon boat racing and have volunteered for over twenty years helping to develop the dragon boat community in the San Francisco Bay Area. Rodger coached and Linda managed the team DragonMax, named after baby Maxine, who they dragged all over the world to dragon boat events, including four world championships.

He strongly believed that everyone should be included on the boat: young, old, children and even a dog or two! Just like his favorite song, Carson’s Last Supper by Suzanne Vega, says “Come and take what is mine to share with you!” And in turn, DragonMax team members always gave their best in the races. DragonMax isn’t just a team, but a true family. He insisted on fun and the perfect stroke, always saying “One race is worth 10 practices for improvement”.

The DragonMax team is one of his biggest lasting legacies, which expresses his never ending desire to help make the world a better place for everyone around him.

Paper Cut by Sam Garvey (portfolio)

Commissioned by Erin Carroll

There in Heaven – Lyrics by Berman, Music by Ed & Ronnie

Drummer’s Beat – A Tribute to Rodger, by Annette A.

Happy times 2010-2020

Happy times 2010-2020

How it began 1999-2009

How it began 1999-2009

“Into the Light”

Poem by Kathy Grenham

“There in Heaven”

Lyrics by Berman Ng

No Sadness

Poem by Rodger


If you are sad for me, then you do not understand me.
In this moment I’m truly happy,
for all I’ve had, for all I’ve done
for all I send forward in the lives I’ve touched.

If you are sad for my family, then you do not understand us.
Our time together can never be taken away.
Their memories will persist.
Our lives are forever blessed.

If you are sad for my friends, then you do not understand their reality.
They are the best of people.
My death has brought them closer together in friendship.
It has given them yet another opportunity to be wonderful.

Sadness is part of life, something we all experience,
something powerful and profound to appreciate.
If you are ever deeply and truly sad, then you do not understand the beauty of life.
Simply look and you’ll find that beauty and joy are all around you.

Rodger’s Playlist

“… these songs really spoke to me and often made me cry.”

The Gunner’s Dream

by Pink Floyd
(Final Cut album really spoke to me when things were darkest last December and this December)

“Goodbye Max, Goodbye ma
After the service when you’re walking slowly to the car

And as the teardrops rise to meet the comfort of the band
You take her frail hand and hold on to the dream:

A place to stay, enough to eat
Somewhere old heroes shuffle safely down the street
Where you can speak out loud about your doubts and fears
And what’s more, no one ever disappears
You never hear their standard issue kicking in your door

You can relax, on both sides of the tracks, and maniacs
Don’t blow holes in bandsmen by remote control
And everyone has recourse to the law
And no one kills the children anymore
No one kills the children anymore”


by Peter Gabriel
(About the anti-apartheid activist)

“September ’77
Port Elizabeth
Weather Fine
It was business as usual in Police Room 6 1 9

Yihla moja
Yihla moja
The man is dead
The man is dead

The outside world is black and white
With only one color dead

You can blow out a candle
But you can’t blow out a fire
Once the flame begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher”

The Queen and the Soldier

by Suzanne Vega
(My favorite singer/song writer)

“The soldier came knocking upon the queen’s door
He said, ‘I am not fighting for you anymore’

He said, ‘I’ve watched this palace up here on the hill
And I’ve wondered who’s the woman for whom we all kill
But I am leaving tomorrow and and you can do what you will
Only first I am asking you why’

He said, ‘I see you now and you are so very young
But I’ve seen more battles lost than I have battles won
and I’ve got this intuition, says it’s all for your fun
And now will you tell me why?’

And he said, ‘I want to live as an honest man
To get all I deserve and to give all I can
And to love a young woman who I don’t understand
Your highness, your ways are very strange’

But the crown, it had fallen, and she thought she would break
And she stood there ashamed of the way her heart ached
And she took him to the doorstep and she asked him to wait
She would only be a moment inside
Out in the distance her order was heard
And the soldier was killed, still waiting for her word
And while the queen went on strangling in the solitude she preferred
The battle continued on”

Carson’s Last Supper

by Suzanne Vega
(DragonMax, in a nutshell)

“I love the world
Sometimes it loves me
The love of my life is humanity

The humble, the twisted
The proud and the grand
Sinner and sinned against
This is my stand
Each one belongs at this feast
Come and be at this table
Come and take what is mine to share with you”

Man in Black

by Johnny Cash
(another great singer/song writer)

“I wear the black for the poor and beaten down
Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime
But he’s there because he’s a victim of the times

Well, there’s things that never will be right, I know
And things need changin’ everywhere you go
But till we start to make the move to make a few things right
You’ll never see me wear a suit of white

Ah, I’d love to wear a rainbow everyday
And tell the world that everything’s okay
But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back.
Till things are brighter, I’m the man in black”

Tom Sawyer

by Rush
(my theme song in my teenage years, especially on rafting trips)

“No his mind is not for rent
To any god or government
Always hopeful, yet discontent
He knows changes aren’t permanent
But change is

And what you say about his company
Is what you say about society
Catch the witness, catch the wit
Catch the spirit, catch the spit

The world is the world
His love and life are deep
Maybe as his eyes are wide

Exit the warrior, today’s Tom Sawyer
He gets high on you and the energy you trade
He gets right on to the friction of the day”

Fond memories about Rodger

Rodger had the unique ability to motivate me to push past my physical pain during a race. And go beyond my perceived limitations.

At the last stretch of the race when my blood was pumping so hard that it restricted oxygen in my brain causing physical pain… I would hear Rodger’s command “Give me all you’ve got!” And I did! I gave it all!

The sound of his voice sparked the fire in me to push past my pain. That’s a tremendous feeling of victory and liberation!

It was his love, trust and confidence that helped me push through. Rodger made me feel valued and important and part of the team… part of the whole. Family. That’s why I was motivated to give him and my team my best. I am forever grateful to him. And will always miss him.

Christine N.