HONG KONG — A blur of boldly patterned jerseys and fluttering banners of green, pink and yellow. The platinum of a boat’s wake against the pewter of the sea. Oars paddling in hypnotic unity. All of it made brighter and more vibrant by a glaring summer sun. 
香港——图案大胆的针织运动衫和风中飘动的绿、粉、黄色条幅令人眼花缭乱。船在青色海面上劈开一道白色的水波。桨手们划桨动作整齐划一,像是被催眠了一般。所有的这一切都因为耀眼的炎炎夏日变得更加明亮、富有活力。
This is Hong Kong’s annual Dragon Boat Festival, a centuries-old tradition throughout Asia that combines sacred rituals with serious competition.
这是香港一年一度的龙舟嘉年华,这一在亚洲各地有着悠久历史的传统将神圣仪式与严肃竞赛结合到了一起。
Among the competitors last month were the Darkness Fighters, Hong Kong’s only dragon boat team composed of visually impaired paddlers and their sighted coaches. Most of them  are well past retirement age.
上个月的参赛者中,有一支“黑武士失明龙舟队”,这是香港唯一一支由视觉障碍的划船手及视力良好的教练组成的龙舟队。其中大多数队员都早就过了退休年龄。
“I’m really happy to be here today because I didn’t think I would be able to do things like this,” said Tsang Jau Rung, 72, who began losing her sight 16 years ago and joined the Fighters this year. 
“我好开心因为我无谂过(没想过)可以玩到龙舟。”72岁的曾照容说,她16年前失明,今年加入了黑武士。
Angie Chan/The New York Times
For Ms. Tsang, and the other blind paddlers, joining the team has meant breaking with housebound routines that provide a sense of safety, but also inflict a crushing loneliness. Competing is an opportunity to socialize as well as a chance to exercise.
对曾女士及其他失明的划船手来说,加入这个队伍意味着打破足不出户日常生活带来的安全感及令人难以承受的孤独感。参加竞技是一个社交、锻炼的好机会。
The festival is said to commemorate the suicide of Qu Yuan, a third-century poet and patriot, and his community’s effort to rescue him from drowning. It is a celebration of teamwork in the face of isolation and desperation.
龙舟节据说纪念的是三世纪自杀的诗人、爱国者屈原,以及民众为了营救他的行动。它是对面对孤独和绝望时团队合作的赞美。
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“It is a group effort,” said Annie Wing Chee Lo, 60, who steadily lost her sight over the past 10 years. “It requires our utmost focus and perseverance for us to do well.”
“我钟意有个团体精神,”60岁的卢詠慈说。她在过去10年里渐渐失明的。“一心一意一仗,一起坚持。”
On race day, hundreds of teams from across the territory representing Hong Kong’s modern tribes — locals and expatriates, bankers and fishermen — meet to compete.  
比赛那天,来自该地区数以百计代表香港现代部族的队伍——本地人和外籍人士,银行家和渔民——齐聚一堂,开始竞技。
The Fighters’ boat is exactly the same as the ones rowed by their sighted competition — long, wooden and tottery, with a dragon figurehead at the prow, 22 paddlers at work.  
黑武士的船与他们视力良好的竞争对手所划的船一模一样——狭长、木制的船摇摇晃晃,船头有一个龙像,能搭乘22名桨手。
At the front of each boat is a large drum, beat to keep members of the team in time. 
每艘船的前部都有一个大鼓,鼓点能够让队员跟上节奏。
Even those who can see cannot ensure they won’t smack into the paddlers in front or behind them, but the Fighters must learn exactly where and when to place their oars solely by the sound of the drum.
即使是那些能看见的人,都无法确保自己不会撞上前后方的划船手,但黑武士必须仅凭鼓声,学会在哪里、何时下桨。
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Many of the team’s members are participating in an organized sport for the first time in their lives, at an age when their peers have retired. There are nearly 175,000 blind people in the city, according to the Hong Kong Federation of the Blind, and 65 percent of them are over the age of 70.
许多队员都是平生第一次参加有组织的运动项目,而在这个年纪,他们的同辈都已退休。根据香港失明人互联会(Hong Kong Federation of the Blind)的数据,这座城市里有约17.5万名盲人,其中有65%的年龄都在70以上。
Just getting to practice is an achievement. One paddler, Lau Fat, 65, must take a bus. Make three subway transfers. And navigate the streets in one of Asia’s busiest cities.
仅仅是参加训练就已经是一项成就了。65岁的划船手刘发必须要坐公交,转三次地铁,在亚洲最繁忙城市之一的街道上穿行。
“It’s hardest for newly blind people,” said Mr. Lau, who since losing his sight five years ago has also learned Kung Fu and how to play an erhu, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument. “They need to be convinced that they don’t need to be home alone but should come out and do things.”
“这对刚刚失明的人来说最难,”刘先生说,他自五年前失明以来,就一直在学习功夫和中国传统弦乐器二胡。“他们需要人们说服他们,不需要独自呆在家里,而是应该出来做些事情。”
Nicola Longobardi for The New York Times
On race day, Mr. Lau said he was nervous but found the steady beat of the boat’s drum calming. 
比赛那天,刘先生说他很紧张,但发现船上有节奏的鼓声很能平复人心。
“We are happy to participate,” he said. “But of course we want to win.”
“我们很高兴能参与,”他说。“但当然了,我们是想赢的。”
Nicola Longobardi for The New York Times
“This is the Darkness Fighters’ mantra,” the team shouted before carefully getting into the boat. “Challenge the impossible!”
“黑武士精神,”小心翼翼地上船前,龙舟队喊道。“挑战不可能!”
Nicola Longobardi for The New York Times
For the blind paddlers the race has its own sensory delights: the thrum of the drum, the spray of the water, the crowd’s cheers. 
对那些失明的桨手来说,这场比赛有着自己的感官愉悦之处:敲打的鼓声,四溅的水花,观众的加油声。
By the end of the race, they are sopping wet, exhausted and beaming with pride. They placed fifth out of eight teams.
比赛结束时,他们浑身湿透、筋疲力尽,脸上却带着自豪的微笑。他们在八支队伍中名列第五。
Nicola Longobardi for The New York Times
“We were all on point with our rhythms and didn’t mess one another up,” Mr. Lau said. “That alone is a win for us.”
“我们都跟上了节奏,没扰乱别人,”刘先生说。“这对我们来说就已经是胜利了”。