So at the beginning of 2014, March 1st to be exact, I moved to Richmond, Vancouver to pursue my badminton career and dream. I knew the owner of clear 1 badminton center, Darryl Yung, because he opened a clear 1 in Calgary and I had been coaching there for almost 2 years at that point so he was my boss. He also being a former player and Olympian fully supported me in my decision to pack up and move out to Richmond to train under him at his club there. He was such an amazing help through the whole process and him and his wife allowed me to live at their house with the other players as well. The move started when me and my parents loaded up our van and started the drive out, this being the first of March that meant that there was already lots of snow on the ground and driving through the mountains to get there would prove to be quite the journey of its own. It took us 2 days to get there because of having to stop for the night being unable to drive through the snow conditions, we were also delayed due to an avalanche that covered the road and took about 2 hours to clear for traffic to pass.
Finally we arrived into Richmond the 2nd day after leaving Calgary and made our way to Darryl’s place. It was late and night when we finished unpacking everything and my parents headed back to their hotel for the night as they were going to do their own thing the next day and head back home. First things first Darryl’s house was huge as well there was 4 other players/people living there along with me. I had a room at the top of the stairs, Jiwoo, a guy from Korea, was directly in front of me. Toby Ng was boarding my room from the back and Derrick Ng was across the hall. Terrence was downstairs in the suite. Along with all of us in the house there was also 3 dogs who would do their thing and let me tell you they were awesome. I really miss seeing those dogs in the morning when I went to eat breakfast and their faces when I would come home after a long day of training.
|Toffee, she was my favorite|
|Brandy, I didn't spend much time with her =/|
|Hero, He was super cool but felt he was always using me for attention/rubs|
The room was pretty bare but I would settle into it just fine with a bed, dresser, and TV/stand. So just like that it was off to training and I played a local tournament that very weekend, getting 3rd place in men’s singles only losing to a good friend and former training partner who had himself made the move out to Richmond a year earlier. So it was getting to the middle of march and I had Trinidad nationals the end of April that meant that all my focus and time would be spent training towards that as I wanted to medal and do well so that I could get selected to participate in the commonwealth and CAC games, events that only happen once every 4 years. The time came I flew off and got 2nd in Trinidad (there is a whole blog entry about that) and when I came back there was only so much time till I would jet off again to Argentina and Venezuela (separate blog posts available on that). After that was Canada Open and US Open which I competed in. so overall out of the 6 months that I lived in Richmond for (May 2nd August 31st) I was actually away for 6 weeks total for tournaments and as well for visits to Calgary to visit my parents after returning from tournaments.
|Got the pad all set up|
|Yay closet space|
Enough about the training and tournaments though this should be about the experience that was Vancouver and how I enjoyed it there. So first and foremost I met a lot of people that became great friends, training partners, and mentors. It was sad to leave them all behind and have to say goodbye. Not only for the badminton friends that I had but also the other people that I met there too, from friends who were originally out there that I met up with to the new ones that I made and explored the city with. That is the only thing that I didn't do enough of while in Richmond/Vancouver I didn't explore enough and that was simply because of my schedule. I had so many tournaments coming up that all my time was spent training for them and when I wasn't training I was coaching. I did make it out to the science center (yes I am a huge nerd) as well as found my way to Lynn Canyon to see the waterfalls and suspension bridge. Those were some great outings, being in nature is always a fantastic time which I enjoy, as well anytime I can learn and be around science I am having a blast.
|Nerding out at the science center|
|I'm on a rock...not a boat but close enough|
|Suspension bridge, not as long as it looks|
One of my friends goes to school out in Victoria and needed some players to come over for an exhibition so he asked me and some other people; I was the only one from Richmond/Vancouver able to make it though. So I would end up having a day trip out to Victoria Island which was great to see. I took the ferry over and it wasn't too long of a trip, going I spent a lot of time upstairs on the top of the ship but coming back was night so I stayed inside. The view/trip was beautiful as well the island was a nice quaint little place. The university over there didn't seem like your typical university campus as it was quite spread out and low key in places but nice none the less. We did the exhibition and honored the players at the university who received a medal at the university badminton national championships and then I was on my way. It was a great little escape for the day out to the island.
|Now Ill be on a boat =p|
Aside from those excursions I spend some time down in Stanley Park and on the seawall, in downtown proper, and of course a lot of time in Richmond. I would train at Clear 1 but sometimes would go to the Richmond Olympic Oval to work out when I needed more than the weights available at Clear 1. In August however I was given the opportunity to be the head coach of the Richmond Oval summer camps for badminton which was something similar to what I had done before in Calgary at the Talisman center camps. So naturally I was looking forward to it and it was a blast to work with the kids as well as the assistant staff and the rest of the summer camp supervisors to make it a fun and memorable experience for all those who participated. Other than that there wasn't much else that I did, had some memorable all you can eat sushi outings after training with the other players from practice as well as some other food eats too which made for a nice bonding experience with the players. The majority of the players that I trained with played international tournaments so this helped me get to know them even better for when I see them on tour.
Alas all good things must come to an end and it was my time to leave Richmond a mere 6 months after I had come there. Two other Alberta players would be coming out to train and go to university as they had just finished high school so it was time for me to head back home and return to my routine. I was sad to go but I knew that it was what was best, I learned a lot training out there and am happy for the opportunity that I had to train with the players and coaches. Upon returning to Calgary I would continue to train at the Glencoe club while working for Badminton Alberta and Clear 1. My parents drove out the end of August and on August 31st we began the drive back having to overnight just once and made it home September 1st. the drive back was a lot easier because it was technically still summer so the road conditions we substantially better than driving in the dead of winter. I was happy to be home, have my own room back and be able to see all my friends again. Part of me will always be long and live in Richmond though, I have had and continue to have many homes around the world.