Monday, September 17, 2012


Do you remember... the 21st night of September...

"September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire (I wonder what happened to 'water'?). Great song, though really nothing to do with my post except for the month in question. So far so good after the first 2 weeks of school at UBC and I also played my first provincial tournament in probably 3 years or so since I went to Alberta, though I will be detailing that a little more later.

Things have been quite hectic and keeping up with training is a lot tougher when I have to juggle everything around. Fortunately, I've been consistent enough with the fixed training groups, as I pretty much have them as mandatory items in my schedule, though for optional practices, it has been a little difficult to include. Perhaps if I create a weight training program, that might be enough to supplement me well enough for this year, as my focus has been on training, rehabilitation, and even a bit of a mental reflection by looking back at the problems of the past years. I also have a lab in one of my classes that includes some physical activity, so that's a nice blend of both school and sport.

UBC has been nice, though taking a bus to an 8am class everything weekday morning can be very exhaustive, at least the weather has been nice (for now!). Biochemistry has been quite engaging, although we have to learn and memorize the structures of the common 20 amino acids! Arrghhh! Now how can I relate something like this to my badminton, one might wonder? Well, L-arginine, a common "ingredient" in those muscle building protein formulas is actually an amino acid, basically a 'building-block' of proteins (ie. amino acids + amino acids + more amino acids = protein). Anyway, the cool thing we learn is that the 'L' in L-arginine refers to which way the amino acid is oriented. Basically, without going into a detailed explanation, the orientations of biological molecules CAN have either an 'L' orientation, or an 'D' orientation. Emphasis on "CAN" because we learned that pretty much all amino acids have the 'L' configuration. Technically, you don't even need to have the 'L' in front of arginine, because if your body somehow gets 'D-arginine', your body wouldn't be able to use it. So, why waste all that time naming it 'L-arginine'? Doesn't it sound much more complex and science-y? Will that single abundance in amino acid make an incredible difference in the long run? I don't know, but maybe I will find out more in my class when I start looking at more reactions and structures.

(Note: I originally wrote L & R. Oops. A combination of getting mixed up with R/S configurations and D/L Optical Activity. Guess I need more practice in Chemistry :P)

Genetics has been interesting, though getting more and more complicated. Visualizing things is quite difficult, but perhaps I just need more practice. My Kinesiology classes have been engaging as well, especially because we had a chance to learn Functional Movement Screens. Basically, they function as a screen to see if one is able to engage in exercise. If problems are detected, then other things should be considered before being thrown into an exercise program. They are quite forceful on their beliefs and I think there is a lot of benefit in their program, but because they are so rigid in their beliefs to try to standardize something for the entire population, there are always exceptions. Maybe not many exceptions exist, but there are, so that creates a large grey area to me. They may show that it's scientifically beneficial for these screens, but beneficial certainly does not mean 'essential'. Also, I didn't feel like paying $300 to get certified, even with a $200 discount (from $500).

Back to Badminton, I played a tournament over the weekend with Phyllis Chan, a fellow Canadian National Team member at ACE Badminton Center in Richmond, BC. The draw was quite small and after getting some kinks out of our game, we managed to come out and win the Mixed. If felt a little awkward to play, with all that expectation given that I should be able to win the tournament. Fortunately, it worked out, even though we were playing some imported player from China. Wow, she was pretty fast. Regardless things worked out alright this time and I should be on track to be ready for the Pan Am Champs in October.

Anyway, that's pretty much it for now. Just studying, training, and not very much in between. I'd like to coach, but I guess it really depends on my schedule. I will be attending the AthletesCan Forum at the end of the month as the Badminton Canada Players Association representative, so that will be a weekend gone before the week of my first midterm. Such is life...

... isn't it great? :)


  1. So what I want to know is why do the amino acids sometimes join in a "L" shape or a "D" shape. What controls that, makes that determination? :) As for whether it should have the "L" in front that sounds more like a taxonomy issue to me... :P