Find that one true sport you love

Tony at Badminton Tournament

In high school I played badminton for 4 years. I liked the sport, but did not love it.

When I went to UC Berkeley, I join the badminton club and we trained and competed against other colleges. We would travel both days on weekends, come back as a team, have dinner together and laugh about the tournaments. I played singles, doubles and mixed doubles. My feet would often have blisters and when my parents were shocked to see how much pain I was in, I told them I barely feel them during the games.

I truely loved the game. I setup practice nets in the garage and practiced serving hundreds of birdies a night.

The sport was the one ‘class’ that I truly look forward to.

After college, I dreamed about badminton, but because of work, having my child, Cate and being depressed, I was not able to play for 10 years.

When the wave of badminton gyms open up in 2006, I signed up with 3 coaches and they taught me and trained me for 4 hours each week. I biked to my sessions in Menlo Park, I would take public transportation for 3 hours to get to my sessions. I played tournaments. I was truly happy.

Today, I am able to spare time to play badminton at least once a week. When I am playing, I feel like the luckiest person. I have a sport I truely love, I am very good at it. Mostly importantly, I can walk to any gym in any country and talk badminton and build small relationships with my fellow badminton players. When I visited Bangalore, Malaysia, Seattle, China and Taiwan, I often walk up to people and just play pick up games.

I hope my daughter also is so lucky to have a sport she truly loves, and is good at. No matter how hard other parts of life get, she will know she has something she loves to fallback on.

Tony Tam

Senior Principal Architect @ Splunk Founder of ImpactfulEngineer.org & SFBadminton.org