Spring is upon us as I google how to write one of these ad-filled articles. If my recent travel experiences have taught me anything, it's that whatever message we try to convey, people will find their own interpretation of it. Speaking the same language does us no good if we fail to understand the hearts of others. Communication is a skill that does not come easy to all. If you're not especially good at listening, it can lead to fights, arguments, and sometimes moments one will use later in an article. We'll come back to this in a bit.
In March 2018, the BCCB Sports Racquet club concluded their first set of women's badminton clinics. Special thanks go to the talented coach Musfiq Islam, who graciously volunteered his time to teach 20+ ladies over the course of three weekends. Helped by BCCB Sports President Nadia Hassan, Racquet Club President Mezba Mah, and team member Nurul Morshed, the uncommon feat of sparking female participation in badminton was achieved.
The clinics were held at local badminton facility Epic Sports in Scarborough, Ontario on Sundays February 25th, March 4th, and 11th. Those who participated in all three lessons have shown increased improvement in their game. It was a pleasant surprise to see the level of talent that exists in our female members, especially those who never played the sport. I hope they continue their participation through community tournaments like the Doyel Cup held on May 5th of this year.
Among the participants was BCCB Women's President Rumana Selim, who had the following to say:
“BCCB is about breaking down walls and using those pieces to build bridges instead. Bridges between communities. Bridges between people. Bridges between generations. Bridges between cultures. Bridges between countries, like Bangladesh and Canada.”
Sport is one vehicle to help build those bridges. Among the several rewards to cash in on, it creates friendships and helps you stay physically active. As Ms. Selim has also said, "I legit need some help in figuring out which reward points to go with." I love quotes. They are so easy to use to send the right message in the wrong context. Coming back to my earlier point about communication, people sometimes really do choose to listen to what they want to hear.
During my travels, I encountered an old Japanese couple who taught me the phrase “Jiyuu no Tsubasa”. At first, I thought they were asking “Do you know Mufasa?”. Yes, I have seen the Lion King, but I failed to see how it was relevant to our conversation. But they kept repeating it “Jiyuu no Tsubasa. Jiyuu no Tsubasa”. I finally gave in and used Google Translate to understand what they were trying to tell me. “Jiyuu no Tsubasa” means “Wings of Freedom”. They were referring to every traveller having them. Moving from place to place, always looking forward to what comes next. As with badminton, we can only play looking forward, not back. Similar to life, despite all our historical and cultural shortcomings, we can only make progress by looking forward and having the courage to step forward.
Before I conclude this somewhat impromptu article, I will share one more story from my travels. On my last post on the BCCB main Facebook forum, I shared a picture looking outward with my back to the camera. The picture I chose on a whim, because I needed something random to go with my writing, but there is a bit of a story behind it.The picture was taken on top of one of the highest viewpoints of Koh Tao. Getting up there was no easy feat. There were no stairs, but steep rock and ropes to climb. Among the 20+ people who attempted the climb that day, I was the last to reach the summit, further reminding me just how out of shape I am. On the summit, there is a final pillar of boulders to climb. Not many try to climb it as the rocks are slippery and they are usually tired from the rest of the climb.Among those 20+ climbers, 9 managed to climb the final hurdle that day and I was one of them. There I was standing on top of an 8 feet wide sledge of rock trying to step closer to the edge to get a better picture. Since there was nothing to secure me, every step took every bit of courage I had. With my bare feet frying from the heat of the sun and my friends shouting to keep looking up and move forward, I managed to get as close to the edge as possible. Once there, the view was surreal. No picture could do it justice or justify the effort and risk to get it. I don't write this to make myself seem like some sort of daredevil. To be quite honest, it was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. If I knew what I was getting myself into, I never would have paid the 100 Baht for the climb.
It's one of those moments you look back on and ask yourself, did I really do that? If you're a female who has always wanted to play sports, but were afraid you weren't good enough, you will have to bear your heart. I can only advise what my friends told me on top of that rock. Look up and move forward.
Just as the recently departed Stephen Hawking had said, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. There is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.
Bravery is not what we do in lack of fear, but the action we take in its presence. As I mentioned earlier, BCCB is hosting its annual badminton tournament on Saturday May 5th and all are welcome to join. Doyels tend to sing the loudest in the spring. If you are looking to spread your wings, the Doyel Cup would be the perfect place to spread them proudly. Jiyuu no Tsubasa.
For information on Doyel Cup 2018, see link below:
BCCB Sports – Racquet: