Looking Back

My blog is just a small blog. A place to put my thoughts and feelings down about my badminton journey. I thank you for reading it, but if nobody read it, I’d still write it. That’s because I find it helpful for myself.

I started this blog a little more than a year ago, when I had just met my coach and thought playing three days a week for 5 hours was super crazy and dedicated. I also knew nothing about badminton–a year ago I was calling a smash a “slam” because I didn’t know the proper terminology of even that most basic of moves. (Not because I only knew the Chinese. I didn’t know how to say it in that language either.)

A year ago I was also still kinda scared of my coach and didn’t know much about him. I mentioned in a blog post that he had a picture of a trophy in his wechat moments and when I said I wanted to enter competitions he kinda hemmed and hawed. This is what I wrote at the time…

On my teachers WeChat he had put a pic of a trophy and said “congratulations Black Ants.” So I asked him if Black Ants was his team. He said yes and they had won a competition.

“Good job!” I said.

“Thanks,” he said.

“You know, one day I want to play in a competition,” I said.

“Oh?” he said looking interested. “In America?”

“Umm…no. In China.” I answered timidly.

“Okay..” he said clearly averting his eyes.

“A long, long time in the future,” I said.

“Okay,” he said smiling non-commitedly walking over to the net.

“Long, long time….” I added.

Not the biggest confidence booster.

Well, one year later I went with him to watch the same competition. Not only did I know several people on his team but I’m friends with almost everyone on another team and knew several people on other teams. It was very cool to be walking into the gym and hearing “Xiao Bing!” called out by a few people who were waving to me.

It was a two day invitation tournament with the top Xiamen teams and a few Taiwanese teams. So while it wasn’t a pro game, it was a high level amateur tournament. My plan was just to go one day to watch, but it was so much fun I went back the second day.

As my coach and I were sitting there watching he looked at me and asked me if I was having fun.

“Yeah, I like watching,” I said. “But I like playing more.”

“Do you want to join this competition?” he asked.

“Of course!”

“Maybe next year,” he said totally serious.

One year ago this competition brought up a real loser moment and it killed my confidence. But this year?! Actual confidence booster!

Now let’s see what the next year will bring. I look back at my entries from a year ago and think how cute and naive I was back then. Hopefully the same thing will happen next year and I’ll kep growing and improving and becoming an expert player.

Here are some pictures from the event. My coaches team The Black Ants, got third place. My next favorite team, who I watch train every week, called The Black Ants Team Two, got 6th. (The two teams are together in the picture at the top of this entry. The Black Ants has long been considered the best team in Xiamen, and the second team is made up of students and recently graduated students. So it’s like the younger version. But in badminton experience counts for a lot, and the original team is still better.)

The action shots are from the tournament. The other pics I took.

We arrived early on Saturday morning where I caught this incredibly flattering picture of both Black Ant teams getting ready.

We arrived early on Saturday morning where I caught this incredibly flattering picture of both Black Ant teams getting ready.

No Chinese tournament is complete without a few long winded speeches and picture opportunities wearing the official shirts. Luckily I always carry my Kindle with me so I just sat and read while everyone did this.

No Chinese tournament is complete without a few long winded speeches and picture opportunities wearing the official shirts. Luckily I always carry my Kindle with me so I just sat and read while everyone did this.

The Black Ants

Xiamen badminton tournament

Xiamen badminton tournament

Me, my coach and my friend Yang Ping behind us. Yang Ping is my part-time coach and we train together every Wednesday.

Me, my coach and my friend Yang Ping behind us. Yang Ping is my part-time coach and we train together every Wednesday.

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Xiamen badminton tournament

Families came to watch the finals.

Another benefit of watching my coaches team is I get a ride home afterwards (the bus is about an hour, while a car is half that time.) And I get cute entertainment with my coaches son.

Another benefit of watching my coaches team is I get a ride home afterwards (the bus is about an hour, while a car is half that time.) And I get cute entertainment with my coaches son.

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