Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Deserving To Win

I know I should post more regularly, but I've been very tied up with finishing up the Badminton Canada Players Association video. I probably volunteered a good 40-50 hours of my time to make it, so if you haven't seen it yet, please have a look-see! (Warning: Video is 41 minutes long!)

Nonetheless, I do feel that I need to clarify some points I made in the comments of my last blogging: Diets and Funding Explained. I would like to explain and clarify the personal bias that comes from the phrase, "Deserving to win". If you look at the phrase itself, it consists of 3 words. Let's start with the last word, 'win'.  What does it take to win in Badminton? The answer is simple: Winning matches, of course, which we know is winning 2 out of 3 sets to 21 points (up to a maximum of 30 for those technical people). There is umpiring and line judging, but they only assist with the match itself, and it's not the same as in figure skating, where the judges decide the winner. Defining 'winning' is quite clear-cut... there are no ties or draw games, just winners and losers (sorry if I seem overly blunt). Anyway, let's move on and define 'to', which simply expresses motion from one thing to the other... in our case, 'Deserving' and 'Win'. Done.

Alright, here is the tricky one. Let us define 'Deserving'... or can we? To deserve something, at it's simplest form, is a judgement or a 'value'. Furthermore, 'value' is pretty much a 'belief' with an evaluation. There is a difference in 'believing' and 'knowing', because 'belief' at many times cannot be explained. It doesn't mean your belief can't be right, it's just that you 'believe' it, instead of 'knowing' it. For example, you may believe that you can't breathe underwater. You can even try it out for yourself (please don't), but unless you know the mechanisms of why your alveoli can't extract oxygen from water molecules, then it's simply a belief, albeit a strong, very valid belief. However, they are still affected by perceptual filters which would mean that there is some kind of interpretation that takes place when the sensory information is sent to your brain. Through either of the 5 senses (vision, hearing, touch, tasting, or smelling), information is either generalized, distored, or deleted for our brains to interpret. Reality is the same for everyone, but we live and feel differently based on our interpretations.

Now, a 'value' adds a personal evaluation on the belief. Beliefs should be emotionless, like believing that your internet is going to work, or believing that your car will stop if you step on the brake pedal. Adding that personal judgement often motivates us to live the way we do. Without these values, life would be boring and uninteresting because we would have no direction. However, if we all had the same 'values', wouldn't it mean we would all be going in the same direction? Well, no, because unless we interpret things the same as well, we probably will have different weights in similar values. For example, work vs. family. Both are very important, but some prefer to work and make a difference in the world, while some would rather spend their time with their families. There is an infinite continuum along the amount of value, so it really is different for everyone. Even simple things like, "Fast food is bad for me" is a value, as our contrasting values can cause heated debates which will never be won because both sides hold different values. An easy example from the argument from the last blog was the difference in value of fast food. For myself, I valued money over proper nutrition, while the other person valued proper nutrition over money.

So now to get to "Deserving to Win". 'Deserve' is a value, because the opposite is 'undeserve'. Let's analyize both interpretations of the phrase "Deserving to Win". The other person, who we'll call 'Skeptical', values proper nutrition over money. This has been inferred from his (I'm assuming a 'he') argument that my nutrional choices are poor, despite the fact that I argued about financial difficulties. Continuing, we can infer that he values proper nutrition because he 'believes' it correlates with 'athletic performance'. Since my values to nutrition did not match his own, he then went on to believe that I did not want to contribute to my 'athletic performance' and hence, 'do not deserve to win'. That is another example of a belief, and I also do believe that 'increasing athletic performance' plays a hand in 'deserving winning'.

However, my argument was based on his interpretation, as I formatted most of the arguments based on his perception of 'Deserving to win'. This can be seen in the comment where I expressed that 'I don't deserve to win' because of my many deficiencies such as limited sparring partners, financial difficulties, limited coaching, etc. Here, following the belief that 'increasing athletic performance' through the aid of sparring partners, money, or coaching, assists in the evaluation of 'deserving to win'. Through Skeptical's belief and value system, I argued that I did not meet the necessary standards to 'deserve to win', but on HIS interpretation of 'Deserving to win'.

If you have forgotten, I clearly stated that people can win, even though they don't deserve to. Though it was a very general statement, interpretations are far and different. I was not referring to myself, but it is more or less a true statement that someone in the world can, has, or will win something, regardless of if they deserve to or not. That is because I speak of reality, that is because I speak of the world itself, which functions regardless of our perceptual filters. "Deserving to win" is simply a value, and though I do have my own criteria established, it is different from someone else's value of the same phrase. Personally, I value 'technique', 'execution', and 'mental sharpness' over proper nutrition or even fitness in terms of improving athletic performance. These are my personal criteria, so whatever you may choose to believe, know that it's not right or wrong, but how you personally value your own things in life.

I hope this clears things up a bit.


  1. You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog. This is the great blog. craig

  2. I thought you had made your point, correct one infact, in the last blog itself but you had to analyise so deep to find the conflict with the 'Skeptical' fan, is indeed remarkable. However if you meditate on it further u will become a Buddha and come out with a zen statement there is no winning or loosing (which i believe).
    I know u a food lover and I enjoy ur writing on food as much as on badminton from all parts of the world.

  3. Well, I did say that "I don't deserve to win" in the comments of the last blog, so I guess I wanted to clarify in case potential sponsors happen to stumble upon my blog. Theoretically, us Canadian athletes are like small businesses, and we compete Internationally against the big ones. Sure, our success may not be the same, but if we continue to grow, maybe someday...

    Yes, and I very much value food ;)

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  5. Recently read Gopichand's(Indian team Head Coach and former All England Champion) biography "World beneath his feet". Comming from a humble background he did not even have money to buy shuttles or shoes to practice. His parents made great scrafices for him to play Badminton. But with his hard work he did comeout on top.
    I am sure the Canadian team has better facilities, the players have family support, what is lacking is the hard work. Example Michelle Li she should be in top 10 not 26.

  6. Yes, I know Gopichand, he did a National Team camp for us in 2009. Maybe Michelle would be top 10 in Gopichand's time, in a different point system? Who knows?

    Define hard work in badminton. Not so easy. What's easy is making pointless criticisms about something you obviously don't know about. If you're just telling us to work harder, I'm asking you, "How?" or "Work harder than what?". If we had the solution AND most importantly, the resources to attain the solution, then perhaps we wouldn't be in this situation.

    Gopichand actually has quite a spiritual side and as certain things from India (eg. yoga), there is a great focus on breathing and mental calmness. We don't really have that in Canada... let alone sport psychologist that even understand badminton.

    Lastly, if he's the only person to do well in India, I wonder where all the resources pool to? In Canada, they believe in fairness, so more people get less money. If we gave Michelle Li all our money, there's a good chance she'd be in the top 10. But that will never happen because someone will whine about fairness and sue. That's reality.

    Hope you keep things in perspective next time before sharing your beliefs. Why don't you look from our perspective first before comparing us to someone who found success, where many have failed?

  7. I didn't mean to critize the Canadian team, I am supporter/fan. Gopichand's example was to inspire you and the Canadian team to look beyond the hurdles.
    Hope you keep things in prespective.

  8. There's nothing wrong with criticism, even if you are a supporter/fan. If we aren't doing what we want to do, or going where we want to go, constructive criticism can be good feedback. However, sometimes feedback, even with good intentions may come across as offensive without enough of an explanation. Also, since this is the internet, it's a lot easier to misinterpret 'tone of voice'.

    I apologize for the snappy response, but I do look through many different perspectives. I appreciate your effort to inspire us, as Gopichand's example is quite significant to the struggling athlete, but it's not a perspective I can follow. I don't know if I have wrote about this problem, but sparring for doubles/mixed teams is very difficult, because we don't have enough people. Practice becomes very difficult to simulate proper doubles if you don't have at least 4 doubles players. It's quite different if you had 4 singles players, as there would be a lot more depth. What if you only had 3 players? Then you can't even play a proper Doubles.

    It's easy to eye the hurdles and stare at the finish line, but if you run as if there were no hurdles, you would fall quite short of where you aim. I would like to be optimistic, but I have to be realistic first. That is how I see the world; that is how I play my badminton. It may be different for the others, but hey... that's just my perspective.