So, before this whole badminton thing, I didn’t have much in the way of sports clothes. I went hiking in khakis or jeans and a t-shirt, and played frisbee in my ratty old sweat pants or, if I was lucky, in a borrowed pair of shorts. I just didn’t have anything appropriate.
Because shopping in China sucks. As an America who is, um, let’s say voluptuous, I can find very few clothes that fit me. And not only that, but with everyone staring at me, and the clerks talking behind my back (“she’s too fat for that,” is a phrase I’ve heard too often while shopping) and my general dislike for clothes shopping in general, you see why I’d rather just wear khakis than deal with it all.
But in March (the same month I started playing badminton) I got my Ultimate frisbee team jersey. It was made from that sporty shirt material and I realized how awesome it was. That shit really does wick away your sweat and keeps you feeling drier. Amazing! I decided that I need proper leg wear as well, and in my mind there was only one place to go: Decathalon.
Decathalon is a French sports company and pretty much the only sports “superstores” in China. They have everything for every sport, and even better, as a European company, they have larger sizes. (Actually normal sizes, just large for China.) You can get shoes, basketballs, bikes, sports bras, yoga balls, protein bars and all that kinda stuff.
Since I hate shopping I prefer to get everything in one place and just be done with it. So I did! My first purchases were a pair of blue shorts and black leggings which I proceeded to wear, with my frisbee shirt, for activities. Then I graduated to more shirts, more shorts and leggings, eventually shoes, racket, badminton bags, even socks and sports bra’s: all Decathalon.
In fact, besides my recent Taobao purchases, 100% of my sports clothes and accessories are Decathlon. Decathlon makes and sells their own brands, so it’s not as well known as Nike or Lin-Ning or other big brands. But the quality is good and the products are cheap. (I know this not only as a user, but because I have a friend who works in corporate, and she has strict quality guidelines.)
Beyond just sports clothes and accessories, my tent, sleeping bag and other outdoor stuff is all Decathalon brand. Basically, I’m a walking advertisement for them, and sometimes I am wearing head to toe Decathalon (from my sweatbands to clothes to shoes and socks and racket and racket bag.)
The only complaint I have about Decathlon is lack of choices. Their stuff is great, and I like it a lot, but their styles don’t change that often (especially in the badminton clothes) but I guess that’s what online shopping is for (or I could work up the nerve and actually go to a Chinese badminton shop and buy 2XL clothes but I don’t even know where they are.)
So basically Decathlon is my sponsor, even if they don’t want to be. Of course, if anyone wants to actually sponsor me I would be happy to take any free swag you want and take a million selfies with them and post them all over my website. (Looking at you Yonex, Li-Ning and Wilson.) As long as you send me the not-ugly clothes. And Decathalon, if you want to send me some stuff to test out and use, I’ll be happy to do so.