Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When Now Is The Time To Fly

"Life isn't about the dollar bills, but how you make use of change."

That is my own line actually, which came to me in a thought while I was sitting in church, one early Sunday morning. Though I may not be as religious as other people, it's still means something to me, kind of like when you aren't sure whether you believe something you hear, but you go with it anyway because it makes sense to you... And what makes sense to you? You can probably do the simple math about dieting, where if your Calories in = Calories out, then you should stay the same weight. If you want to gain or lose weight, then a simple adjustment can be made and you are going in the direction that you want. When you take this concept and turn it into your finances, it becomes the same where you have a financial balance when your Money in = Money out.

If things were only that easy, where we could have people donating to Badminton Canada and getting a tax receipt for their donations, because we have all done our taxes recently and it is a nice feeling you get when you can tell the government that you don't have to pay as much taxes because you've given their tax money away to a charitable cause. It is a good feeling, because you know you have made a difference especially because you love and support badminton, as badminton might not get your hard earned money if you gave it directly to the government. Sport Canada only gives us a little bit of money, not even enough to support a full Olympic team. The Olympic year, in badminton, translates into 'quit school and your full-time job, and you'd be lucky to find any part-time work year' because you are traveling constantly, probably every 2 or 3 weeks to different countries all over the world. One of our Canadian teams traveled to about 30+ countries within a calendar year. Could you even imagine having to travel so much, living out of a suitcase, and living well out of your comfort zone to achieve your goal for qualifying for the Olympics? Imagine having to adjust to new competition environments where you can't see the shuttle as clearly; you hear the sounds of roaring crowds, often cheering for the home team which isn't you; the odd smells of different places where pollution and poverty may be rampant, the weird tasting local food, and the feeling that you get that you are all alone in this giant world, trying to fight back against it so you can get to where you want to go. You're on an emotional roller coaster, with some big wins, but mostly because you have to learn to pick yourself off the floor when you get knocked down, because you've traveled to so many places where you simply lose in the first round, just for a shot at trying to making it far enough to make a difference in your World Ranking... I don't even need photos because you can clearly imagine it with your own mind. The feeling of unease is a constant one, wondering if you really are doing what you love, because you really really hate losing. Whether it be badminton matches, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, financial independence, you are still losing... little by little because it just slowly eats at you.

Regardless of those feelings, you know you are better than that. You know it is only a temporary hurdle to jump over and you know what it won't get you down. So, what can you do when you can't reach the top? You can aim higher, shoot higher, like the stars in the sky. You point yourself into the right direction and blast off like a rocket and hear that explosion beneath your feet and feel yourself being propelled into the sky, out of reach from anyone. You can see the stars getting bigger, while letting everything beneath your feet slowly shrink and fade away. You shoot for the stars, and if you fall a little short, it doesn't matter because everything now is beneath you, because the Olympics is not just a dream anymore, it is a reality. And the stark reality is that there are times you know you aren't the best, you can even be at the bottom of the list, so that's why you don't aim for the top, but instead, you shoot for the stars...

... one last time.


"Can you pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars.
 
I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now."
('Airplanes' - B.O.B. feat. Hayley Williams)
You haven't just walked a mile in my shoes, but a light-year. Please continue to support Canadian Badminton. Thank you.