People ask me all the time why I am where I am.
I think the answer is somewhat complicated, and I am sure it a huge mixture of all kinds of factors when you boil it down. But at the very heart it is because I think that this place has potential. I think that students, that people, that I, all have a potential. I think that I can get somewhere, not because I practice enough, but because I have people behind me while I practice enough. I listened to an interview with Malcolm Gladwell last night and he made the point that his “ten thousand hour rule” was not intended to communicate that if you simply practice enough you will become an expert, but rather that to get enough practice to be an expert you must have a lot of people sacrificing to get you there. When you see an Olympic athlete competing for a medal at the Olympics you shouldn’t just see one person who worked their way to being the best, but rather one person who worked hard because everyone around him sacrificed in order for them to be able to practice enough. The athlete’s parents sacrificed huge amounts of time and money driving their kid to practice and helping them get opportunities, and then somewhere along the way other people pitched in with money and time, and coaches offered expertise, and most likely some local business man decided this young athlete had a dream worth putting money on. There were probably tutors in highschool to help the kid keep up with school during their busy competeing season, and freinds who helped push the athlete, and some teammates who demanded full effort every day.
I get a lot of people who tell me I am crazy for giving everything I know up to train and coach and live around badminton. But there are also those people who have helped me get as far as I am, and those who will help me get farther. From coaches who demand excellence, to my parents giving up sleep to take me to late night practices when I was a junior, and my teammates who wouldn’t let me quit, and the people who decided that they could put money into sharing a dream with me.
Now there are those who will keep helping me forward. From the people giving me meals, and the coaches who waive a few fees so I can keep coming to practice, and the sponsors who are helping me, and those who will decide to jump on board for the next step. There are the teammates who aren’t okay with anything but my best, and the coaches who demand I do better, the physical therapists who help my body not break, and the friends who keep me from going crazy. Everyone is playing a part in my success. I am here, and I am working my best because I owe it to everyone to do so. Because I love it, and I wouldn’t do it any differently. I coach, I teach, I hope to inspire the next generation because there were so many who did that for me and I can do nothing less in return.
For every step forward I take there is a whole team of people helping me. I hope I am also part of that team that helps the next generation do the same thing.
Cheers to everyone who is chasing dreams, everyone who made it to the top of their profession, and most importantly, cheers to all the people who make it possible for each of us. Cheers to the parents living off coffee and ramen so their kids can go to practice, the coaches staying up too late so their students can make it, the business men who dare to take a chance on someone who hasn’t made it yet, the teammates who push each other, the part time athletes making competition worthwhile, the friends who send corny encouraging texts at midnight, the grandparents who are proud of their grandchildren, the aunts and uncles who come to cheer, and everyone else who plays a part in this crazy life.