This weekend was the 2016 Becky Cup! The event I have been planning and thinking about for months. How did it go? I’ll let the pictures do the ‘splaining:
As the cups namesake I was the defacto host. But as the courts owner, and my coach, my coach was right besides me to help out. Since it was an international crowd, I spoke a mixture of Chinese and English and my coach filled what I missed. (Btw, check out the shirts I had made throughout these pictures. They turned out amazing and I love the logo on the front!)
There was a professional photographer at the event and he made sure we did some group picture before the games started. (If you live in Xiamen and need a photographer, make sure to call my friend Bong Antivola to shoot the event! Almost all the pictures in this post are his.) Look at how many people participated!
I’d like to say the event was smooth sailing, but I shouldn’t lie. I didn’t know all the participants (my coach got a bunch of people to play) and I didn’t know their names. And then I screwed them up (mistaking a mixed doubles team for a men’s doubles team). Also, it was a double elimination seeded bracket tournament so I had to follow a specific order. The first few games were rough with a bunch of last minute changes and even a few games stopped (because I screwed up who they were playing) but after the first few round, it smoothed itself all out.
We also had an injury early on! Poor Barbora (center) twisted her ankle. It wasn’t serious enough to go to the hospital, but she couldn’t continue and her teams had to forfeit their games.
Yet, despite the snafu’s, everyone seemed to still have a good time.
Even I enjoyed it after things calmed down.
So how did I do? I only played in the mixed doubles with my coach as my partner. I was so busy and frazzled in the beginning I didn’t even warm up or hit the birdie at all before the first game. Somehow, we managed to win (thanks to my coach).
Our second game was even worse. He told me to “not move” and basically get out of his way. Well, “not moving” isn’t my strong point and I was kinda so hepped up with energy and nervous excitement that I was basically a mole on the wack-a-mole machines, popping up in random places and getting in his way every shot. “Xiao Bing! Stop moving!” he’d yell exasperated and I would giggle uncontrollably. Needless to say, my mind wasn’t in the right place. We lost, but it was a double elimination tournament so we still had a shot.
Our third game was the most anticipated game. We were against Xiao He (left) and Rebecca (next to me). Xiao He, Rebecca and I are the Three Musketeers of badminton. We have a chat group, just for the three of us, and we talk about badminton all the time. Xiao He is at a much higher level than me, but not as high as my coach. In fact, Xiao He was the one that introduced me to my coach, so I have a lot to thank him for. Anyway, we figured that with Xiao He, and my coach, our two teams would be playing in the finals. We had been smack talking for weeks about who was gonna win. Sadly, we both lost so instead of meeting at the finals, we met at the quarterfinals. And thanks to my lack of focus, my coach and I lost. Now my friends have leverage on me to mock me forever. Although, they didn’t win either, as they got knocked out in the semifinals. So there. Neener neener, they suck too.
The whole thing took about four hours, and finally we had the awards ceremony. I had the medals made, but as an added bonus my coach has sponsorship from the Wish company, and the winners got a brand new racket! It’s actually the racket I use, so I know it’s a good deal. These are the winners and second place winners in the women’s doubles. (My coach and I got all up in every pictures as the hosts.)
The winners of the mixed doubles was two teams I didn’t know before. But notice the one woman is the same as the runner up in the women’s doubles. She was the only one to get medals in two events. She was awesome and I’d like to play with her more.
Men’s doubles was the most exciting to watch. These two teams were miles above the rest and they gave an awesome show for all of us to watch.
Somehow we managed to make it through and everyone had fun! As his first foreign student and friend, I think my coach was totally bemused at the management style of the tournament (I gave everyone cupcakes at the end too. I mean hey, it was my birthday right?) But I know he had a good time despite the (or because of?) the craziness. I also can’t thank him enough for helping me out not only in this tournament, but in the badminton world in general. He’s an awesome guy.
If that wasn’t stressful enough, at night I arranged a party on a rooftop of a local microbrew. So despite being exhausted we somehow managed to eat and drink the night away. Other friends who weren’t at the badminton tournament showed up and we got to tell them all the exciting details.
Most amazing was a cake my friend made especially for me. He’s a french pastry chef and is famous for his cakes, but it was unbelievable he took the time to make one especially for me! He didn’t even come or play at the tournament but he knows me and what I like.
As the birthday bully queen, I decided that the big piece of french chocolate was for me only. But after a few bites I realized it was too rich and I was forced to share it with my friends before it melted. Sad. Wish I still had it now. (I also know I look a bit crazy but this was near midnight and you have to understand how exhausted I was.)
So, all in all, it was an incredibly successful day. At one point in the tournament I just kinda stopped and looked around at all the people playing on the courts, people on the sides, watching, laughing, wiping sweat off their face, and I felt so damn happy. I’ve never been a sports person, never played at a tournament, much less organized one, and yet somehow it worked. People from all different backgrounds, countries and languages had come together to have a fun day. And I made it happen on my 40th birthday.
Five years ago I was living in China but my life was completely different. I could never in a million years ago guess what I would be doing on my 40th birthday or who I would be doing it with. And I hope I bring this sense of adventure and gratitude with me as I get older. Even if it failed miserably I think I would still be proud that at least I tried.
And on that note, check out this brief video my friend Bong made! An epic video for an epic day.