With Father’s day around the corner, it’s an opportunity to thank my dad and share some of his story. He reckons he has the combined wisdom of 150 years (his and his mother’s) and perhaps unsurprisingly, he’s one of the strongest supporters and influences in my life.
I’ve always respected my dad. His family wasn’t rich. They migrated from Guangzhou in southern China and had to make do with few resources. My grandfather was accused of being communist and separated from the family, yet my grandmother somehow managed to bring up eight children. As a young child, my dad sometimes went down to the river to catch colourful fighting fish and let them fight each other until one died. He had a pet cat and picked up badminton by playing with bare feet on a concrete floor.
As a young man, he worked in Singapore and played competitively. He still remembers the days when gut strings and heavier steel racquets were popular. He also learned Hokkien from his friends, which was a common Chinese dialect in Singapore back then. He recalls beating his boss and winning a team event in the 80s: the trophy is stored in a glass cabinet and it’s a beauty.
When we came to Australia, he played socially and became President of a social group at the Taren Point Community Sports Centre. He was so strong I sat on his shoulders and he walked around like a giant. However, in the 90s he injured his right shoulder. The doctor told him to choose between badminton and his shoulder so he had to stop playing for a few years. He picked it up again but unfortunately snapped his right calf muscle during a badminton game in 2015. He says it’s age…
How my dad got me into badminton
My dad found a badminton coach and I started in 2014. It was uncomfortable being a beginner and I felt like an outsider. Where it might have put others off, however, it made me determined to master the game. I can be stubborn. He came to my first competition to provide moral support. It was reassuring to have him there.
Recently I was invited to join a sponsored corporate team. I shared the news with my dad and questioned if I was the worst person to ask. My mum doesn’t like being left out of the conversation. She jumped in and said “the problem with girls is that they’re too humble, believe in yourself”. My dad said “just have fun, don’t overthink it, show them what you can do”. Given that it’s Father’s day on Sunday, I’d like to win to make my dad proud. One of my personal goals is to win B grade, which requires work on placement and footwork. So at the moment I’m training with more focus, practising the same shot over and over and thinking how I can use it in a game.
Take home message
Ask your dad about his story, it will be fascinating and insightful. Happy Father’s Day!