A frustrating time of the year

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

Hey guys,

Wow, it’s been a month since I last updated… really sorry about that! 😕 I’m sure everyone is experiencing this in one form or another, but it has definitely been a very unpredictable and frustrating time of the year. My last post was written in total peace while laying by the pool under the sun, right after winning the gold at the Pan Am Team Championships in Brazil. Soon after, I was back in Toronto expecting a couple of hard weeks of training to prepare for a 6-week tour of tournaments starting with Germany, then England, Switzerland, India, Malaysia, and ending with Singapore.

Well, as I suppose you are all aware, things didn’t quite turn out as planned. Now, it is the 3rd week of my tour, but I’m back in Canada writing this post in self isolation with no interaction with anyone for 14 days and no longer in that state of total peace or relaxation.

I definitely have mixed feelings about everything that has happened or is happening and changing around me because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Especially as I self-quarantine myself it will be tough because I have all the time in the world but nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to see for two weeks. BUT THIS ISN’T ABOUT ME! This process is necessary for the safety of everyone around me!

It’s really important people understand this point and take it seriously. It won’t be an easy two weeks because the hardest part for me is to finally be home for an extended period of time, but still have to stay away from my family and friends. However, to emphasize again… this isn’t about me! so sometimes you just gotta do it and I hope everyone else is also sharing this mentality.

On a positive note, this will be a good opportunity for me to get in touch with my mind again and give myself time to reset and breathe. It has been crazy recently and it has definitely gotten me a bit down and worn out. But it’s giving me more time to reach out and write to you guys and I’m happy about that. 🙂

So, to my friends out there who are also quarantined and bored out of your mind - or friends that just got time to kill - maybe my post will help you pass a bit of time and update you on my life the past couple of weeks. Maybe you can also relate to some of my thoughts and feelings that I have been dealing with.

Combination of fatigue, hard training, and frustrations

I guess, let me start by taking you back to mid February. I allowed myself some time to just unplug for a bit after the Pan Am Team Championships. I was actually already feeling the fatigue leading up to this point. I had already been away since the beginning of 2020 for the Indonesia Masters and then the Indian League. I also wanted to take a bit of a break from the online world to just be present in my environment, focus on training and enjoy some quality time with people at home.

I definitely didn’t pull any plugs in terms of training though. I really wanted to perform well in the following 6 weeks of tournaments in Europe and Asia and increase my overall level leading up to Tokyo. To save on costs, I typically only see my coach/sparring partner at tournaments because he’s from Taiwan, but this time I flew him over from Taiwan to Canada. It’s an essential investment I needed to make to maintain my training and prepare for the upcoming series of events.

It was definitely tough training. I was tired every day and I was sore all the time, but in a good way. I was working hard, and preparations were going fine and I was very much looking forward to the tour coming up. Until…

You know how when sometimes you get a bit of news, or an issue comes up and then another thing comes up and then another and then another and then another and then all of a sudden every little thing that’s not usually a big deal on its own is now coming together at the same time and you feel lost and overwhelmed and your brain is just on the verge of exploding?

Tournament cancelled

Well, for me this was one of those times and there wasn’t really much I could do about it. It wasn’t the end of the world and I know things could be way worse. But sometimes these things can be really exhausting to deal with and my mind was constantly running and thinking about everything that was going south. Everything that was happening really took away my focus from badminton and my training. Extremely unfortunate and not ideal when that should be the only thing I should be focusing on.

It all started with news about a dear friend’s passing (not because of Coronavirus or COVID-19!). I’m not going to go in too much detail about this but there were some personal matters which got me a little down. There was also talk about the consequences of the Coronavirus and potential cancellations of some events, which started some uneasy feelings and emotions inside me. Then came the news about the cancellation of the German Open! 😳My first thoughts… honestly, I was speechless! It was a combination of sadness and frustration but also a bit of relief.

Relief because it would give me more time to prepare and refocus before the big All England Championships that everyone is always looking to do well at. But I think the other emotions took a bigger toll on me than I could imagine. I was sad because I missed competing. It would have been great to have a week in Europe to adjust to the time difference and get some match play in after the training to prepare for the All England.

I also had a lot of frustration because when I heard about the news Wednesday morning, I had literally JUST purchased my flight tickets and accommodations for my team of 3 in Germany the night before! Of course, as it was such a last minute booking, everything was non-refundable… It was a big hit financially, which really adds to the stress of my already existing challenges with lack of funding and sponsorship. 😔

Frustrations just getting outta hand

There wasn’t much I could do but spend hours calling each individual airline to book new flight tickets and attempt to ask for even just a bit of a refund. Although unsuccessful and extremely annoying to do, it still had to be done or no one was going to do it for me. When I had finished re-booking the flights to go straight to England and things were finally in place again… I got a message from my physiotherapist who was flying from Taiwan: She received a notice to not go to the airport because the airline that would take us into the UK had just went bankrupt!

My JAW DROPPED! I was in a bit of denial at first. I was thinking, THERE’S NO WAY! But “funny” enough, I guess it’s just one of those times when things just suck. It really affected my mindset in trainings because I wasn’t focused on the training but was subconsciously always thinking about what I needed to do, how I needed to do it and figure out a solution for this unexpected turn of events instead.

I don’t have the privilege of having a manager or being a government funded athlete to have someone else take care of these off-court issues for me. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest downsides of being a self-funded athlete, and it really takes away from my focus. Unfortunately, it was also during this time I had injured my shoulder, which led to me taking a few days off to recover and get everything in place before leaving for the All England.

All in all, not the best preparation for one of the biggest tournaments of the year.

However, I have to accept it for what it is and take this experience and learn from it. All England is one of my absolute favorite tournaments to play on the whole tour. There is an unspoken culture in the badminton world that just makes this tournament ‘THE’ tournament to win. All the top players and everyone I know is trying just as hard to win the All England as they are at a world championships. I could go on and on about how amazing this tournament is…

All for today

But I think it's time for a bit of a break from writing and give you guys a break from reading. I will give you guys a bit more about the All England and finish the rest of my update for you guys in my next post which I believe will be tomorrow! 🙃 But before I go, I just wanted to say keep smiling everyone and still find ways to enjoy yourself during these tough times. I know much of what was in my post today was talking about what went wrong but everything is about the process and in this process, I’m learning more about myself. I know there can be way worse things that could happen and I know I am already very lucky.