Final CAS Post

 

My CAS blog is a celebration of many of the endeavors I took on over my IB DP journey and portrays the way in which I was able to apply various areas of my learning to extracurricular activities and beyond; so leaving it all behind is a bit of a bittersweet feeling. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that it played a crucial role in ensuring that I balanced my work and school life. An equilibrium that is essential to us, especially as students in the final stages of their IB experience. Looking back through my posts, I retrospectively feel a great deal of joy as I am reminded of all that I have accomplished in the past two years despite the many obstacles that came my way. I feel as though this experiences has most certainly heightened my versatility in terms of balancing school, creativity, activity and service.

*For the purpose of this post I will be spotlighting only a few memorable instances in which I exercised the CAS learning outcomes in my creativity, activity and service related projects.  

Creativity

From learning new languages on my own, to getting creative in the kitchen, taking part in prestigious courses and events  and promoting the growth of my own football editing account, I truly made an effort to make the most use of my time and talents in a way that would benefit everyone. Simultaneously, I also ensured that I was able to reflect on the strengths and shortcomings of each of my experiences.

(LO1) One of my longtime projects, “Reef Revival” I thrived in launching our social medias, getting widespread involvement and completing our action, while on the the downside we struggled with things like not being able to achieve our full potential due to the obstacle of Covid. Naturally this never hindered us as we worked tirelessly to make our project the success that it was, and even then we were happy to reflect on what we could do to improve future cleanups. This inspired a healthy mindset in me that I became open to receiving feedback and even identifying my own strengths and weaknesses.

(LO2) What comes to mind immediately when thinking about  accomplishing the goals of undertaking new challenges, is my video editing adventures; a project that I took on when I was quite young (then gave up on) but decided to revive my passion for it in the DP for CAS. I was incredibly pleased that my accounts took off and that I got the hard earned recognition for the many hours I put into finding content, learning new software and painstakingly editing over the course of the years. In fact, given you know how much I love football, being seen by some of my all time favorite players and clubs, to this day, is one of my favorite personal achievements. That is to say of course, that it wasn’t without effort that that was accomplished. For example, I needed to push myself to try harder and make better quality edits using more advanced software. In fact, over the 2 years, I can safely say that I tried out and learned about 6 different editing applications (which isn’t near as easy as it sounds). Not only that but on of my biggest personal challenges was staying motivated, as editing so regularly was a bit of a tedious task, but I overcame that annoyance but creating a healthy and balanced editing schedule for myself.

(LO4) Initiating and planning CAS experiences in the IB creatively came primarily, in the form of me being appointed the Service Leader for the Hope for Kids service group in 2021 after a long-term commitment to the service group that I had been a keen member of since I joined school. (LO3) One of my foremost duties in my run as the service leader, was to ensure that the members of our team would be without fail, able to help the children of the cancer home in Maharagama regardless of the local interferences during the pandemic, before and after. My tasks as service leader only became infinitely difficult as  Covid -19 struck the island, as we were prevented from visiting in person and could not meet the CCC Cancer Home’s beloved patients, but I ensured that the group stayed on the top of their game in terms of doing our part for the kids, and also the general OSC community. For instance, the Hope for Kids Staff Cricket match was one of the events suggested by myself, wherein we decided that we would have an all staff vs staff game at the OSC field in order to act as a fundraiser during which we also hosted multiple minor fundraising activities such as selling ice cream and thambili (king coconut). This took many months of planning and coordination as we had to reach out to a variety of stake holders from doctors to staff, parents and other members of the student ready to allow it to happen and we had a limited period of time under which we had to organize the event. And in retrospect, I couldn’t me happier with the way in which it was carried out given our circumstances; especially as we raised over 62,000 rupees from that one event alone, among the many other projects that I made possible through my role as Hope for Kids’ sole service leader in the 2021/2022 school year 🙂 

(LO4)  Such long-term commitments, have also made way to some really important milestones in my personal life. In the summer of 2019, I chose to pursue an internship at a renowned law firm, Sudath Perera Associates, where I worked for about a month in the Intellectual Property department. Following my eye-opening experience at the law firm, and convinced by the events that followed it ie. the BLM movement, I was convinced that legal order and justice was a potential career path I was interested in pursuing in the future. My CAS journey only heightened my passion for this path, as projects of mine such as Reef Revival only further attested to my keen sense of justice. Needless my desire to study law was only cemented in the following years as I took part in activities such as the Harvard Future Lawyer’s Program, the Margin and the IVY Girls lead program. They pushed me to learn more about how justice is achieved in the real world through creative solutions, and now, it is partly the reason why I will be pursuing a career and degree in law in the near future.

(LO5) Although I cannot pinpoint one specific example of when collaboration was pivotal to success, I can confirm that collaboration was the key to my achievements in nearly all creative ventures. Whether is be teammates and group members working alongside me to achieve service related goals, or whether it be my mom sharing a recipe with me for home cooked meals, or the team of aspiring attorneys that it took to win our final Harvard mock trial, teamwork has always been key to ensuring success in the long term. While many of these endeavors were initiated by myself, each person involved had a vital role to play in everything from logistics to the final activity being carried out, and for that I can’t be more grateful.

(LO6) Matters of global significance that I have combatted over the past few years using my creative ventures range from combatting against the marginalization of minority groups (the Margin), women’s empowerment (IVY Girls Lead, IVY Girls Rise) , gender inequality (women’s football edits), child cancer (Hope for Kids) to marine pollution (Reef Revival) and crime (Harvard Law Program) among other things.

(LO7) One of the lesser recognized goals in my DP CAS journey was to help out more at home, i.e. learn how to cook, do chores etc. Anyone who has been following my blog for long enough, would see the major learning curve I saw in my cooking abilities over the last few months. I had been working tirelessly to make meals that would simultaneously help lessen the workload for my mother while also enabling me to learn how to cook in preparation for university. I realized, that from an this was the right thing to do as my mom does so much of that during the day, I only wished that I had allocated more time to it because I often had to make exceptions for days when I was stressed under the amount of work I had. This goal helped both focus on the wellbeing of others in my family as well as myself in the long run. Personal wellbeing and mental health also had a great role to play in my creativity as often, it was things such as meditation, art or playing the guitar that helped me de-stress during some difficult times and by writing about it in my blog I was able to suggest ways of leading a healthier emotional lifestyle to others.

On another note, I could also say that my initiatives such as Reef Revival and other such interdisciplinary service ventures had a key role to play in making the world a better place for the party concerned whether it be young girls or local marine life.

Activity

(LO4) It is with a lot of pride that I am able to say that I pushed myself harder than ever before in my life to achieve some pretty incredible things in the field of sport in the past couple of years. If anything, I jumped at the opportunity to try different activities while remaining strongly committed to my pre-existing ones! 

Here is a list of all the sports / physical activities I attempted and took part in over the past 2 years:

  • badminton
  • biking
  • body boarding
  • diving
  • fishing
  • football
  • golf
  • hiking
  • kayaking
  • surfing
  • tennis
  • volleyball
  • workouts

(LO1) Each of the home-workouts that I took part in my time as a DP student, were specifically tailored to meet my physical needs. For instance, any and all football trainings led by me were specifically focused on certain aspects of my performance to improve upon. For instance, when I was at home training alone during the pandemic, I ensured that I increased the ratio of cardio training that I took on so that my stamina wouldn’t suffer too badly when I got back on the pitch. I suppose now I can say that it probably worked because we’ve come out on a win every football game of the season this year!

(LO2) From the list provided above, biking (for longer distances), bodyboarding, fishing, golf, hiking, kayaking and surfing are all brand new sports that I chose to take on this year. I seized every opportunity I could to take part in these activities and can fondly claim that although there are a few of them such as fishing and golf which are less suited to my tastes, I gave them my all and overcame the challenges that arose with them, such as learning to work as a team to navigate along the water on a kayak.

(LO3) Many of the home workouts along with my diving adventures were both planned and initiated carefully by me over time while I also constructed many of the lesson plans for the children I coached at Decathlon’s La Academia where even I took part. Therefore, I took the initiative to lead by example with the activities I kept up with.

(LO4) Football and Badminton have been two of my longest running commitments in terms of activity that started since childhood. However, during my CAS journey, I never once failed to remain faithful to my training regimes and games etc. In fact, I would even say that it is those factors that contributed heavily to me accomplishing high levels of achievement in both from playing both internationally, locally (for club and varsity) and at an National Team level for football (ie. Maldives, School Football Games (seasonal win streak), TAFA) and competing in the national for badminton (69th annual championships). In fact I have been so committed to my football endeavors that I even began coaching younger children on a voluntary basis so that I could pass on my knowledge to them.

 (LO5) As you may have noticed, many of the sports I play and love, are team oriented. In many of the games over the preceding seasons I was given the honor of taking more of leadership role in my teams as I was able to impart my experience on the younger players. Ie. coaching little kids, captaining the girl’s football team at school. That also goes without saying, that the reason why I love football in particular as my primary sport, is because of the energy that comes with celebrating with a team. No game could ever be won without everyone from the spectators to the players putting effort into it, and that’s the beauty of the game.

(LO6) Keeping fit and healthy has been a key element of focusing on improving my mental health; something that so many teenagers, especially students of the IB suffer with nowadays. Likewise, staying fit has also enabled me to combat things such as negative eating habits and illness, thus improving my immunity during the pandemic for example.

(LO7) I have ensured that I have been respectful to my teammates, coaches and alike and acted in a way that reflects strong sportsmanship like behavior which makes the field / court a much better place to thrive on.

Service

  • Coaching at La Academia (Assistant head coach)
  • Girls RISE (Mentor)
  • Helping out at home
  • Hope for Kids (Service Leader)
  • Ivy Girls Lead
  • Reef Revival (Founder)
  • The Margin (Journalist)

Given the content covered in the previous sections of the blog (much of which was interdisciplinary) I feel as though I have sufficiently discussed the learning outcomes associated with my service activities in the sections above. In a more general sense however, I am grateful that I have been able to access so many incredible leadership positions in so many different areas of service, that each combat a different global issue and I am amazingly proud of myself for having accomplished all those roles even despite the obstacles that the pandemic for instance has thrown my way. On a parting note, I hope that the things that I have made possible in my involvement in each Service activity has improved someone’s life for the better in some way, through both raising awareness and taking action.

To conclude, I have thoroughly enjoyed my CAS journey and come away a better person because of it.

With love,

Devanga

“Balance is a feeling derived from being whole and complete; it’s a sense of harmony. It is essential to maintaining quality in life and work.” – Joshua Osenga, cubicle slave

 

CAS Project!

REEF REVIVAL 2022

Introduction:

One of the most pivotal components of the Diploma program is naturally the long awaited CAS Project. The CAS project requires the student takes individual initiative in order to plan and carry out a certain meaningful endeavor.

In reality, ever since DP1 I have had a very clear idea of what  I wanted to do for this project, wanting to do something that I was not only passionate about but also achieved multiple learning outcomes in one go. What was my idea? Planning, organizing and carrying out Dive Cleanups for Reef Revival (the non-profit collective I created in 2019 to clean up Sri Lanka’s oceans through diving). We have made significant progress in this area since I inadvertently began my CAS project almost a years ago, and this past weekend I just completed another renewed cycle of our cleanups but this time, on a different coast of Sri Lanka thus expanding our horizons even further!

Fish Trap Nets

Here are some of the learning outcomes my project has achieved:

LO1-

Having dived since I was 11 years old and having carried out dive cleanups since the 10 grade for my personal project has given me a lot of the experience I needed to make this project a success.  Going into this, I was able to have a clear idea of my strengths and shortcomings as in my previous cleanups we have met a few obstacles with doing things like bringing in too many people, facing ethical dilemmas regarding what to and what not to retrieve from the ocean and also having struggled to bring certain items to the surface due to entanglement. This time around I was able to ensure that we had less people on board and brought the right tools to detangle certain debris. We did have a fair share of shortcomings, but it’s all a learning experience for the future (which I will elaborate on later).

LO2-

Carrying out a dive cleanup has no shortage of challenges in the long run. Whenever you are carrying something of this nature out the most important thing to consider is that there are people’s lives on the line and that cannot be compromised and ensuring that people are safeguarded becomes your number one priority. Thus, during the duration of the dive and before I had to ensure that people were aware of the dangers and were qualified enough for the dives especially considering that one of them was a nitrox dive (enables for a longer stay underwater at a specific depth) which was made especially difficult by the fact that it was a new dive site that not even the instructors have carried a cleanup on before. As for new skills in my previous diving experiences I wasn’t allowed to carry any tools i.e. knives, nets etc. but this time I was able to so I had to master the use of that while also learning how to take part in nitrox dives since usually they require a specialty course.

LO3-

Support from the very start of the project!

This clean up and my overall project Reef Revival in particular has been my initiative since I started out at the start of DP1. My only cleanup I had done previously was during my personal project in MYP 5, but all of this was relatively new to me. I began Reef Revival in 2019 with the intention of raising awareness and doing my part as a diver to clean up the oceans. Sri Lanka frequented in its carrying out of beach cleanups however, the undersea areas always remained neglected and it was visible. A lot has happened since the start of my CAS project which as I’m writing this, I realize has been a much longer commitment than I remembered. Throughout this process  I have kept in touch and reached out to all of these individuals in order to make things happen. I had trained divers with the help of Sri Lanka Diving Tours to carry out these dives, planned and organized timings, dates, kept up with progress and even been very hands on the with actual carrying out aspects. Reef Revival has now expanded from underwater cleanups to beach cleanups and now ensure that regular dive cleanups are carried out in not only Negombo but Trincomalee and Batticaloa with beach cleanups in Mt. Lavinia. We contribute data to organizations like PADI Aware and now even have our own social media that we use to spread awareness. We also have 2 featuring articles (interviews) on Sri Lanka’s Sunday times about this!

LO4-

I don’t think there is any better way of showing my commitment to something than a 7 year hobby turned into a personal project which led to an environmental organization for change being created. Like I mentioned earlier, I have been diving since  I was 11 years old and I am now a certified Advanced Open Water Diver. My personal project was just a glimpse at the possibilities that were to come in the upcoming years as I decided to take things one step forward and expand upon this inkling of an idea that has impacted so many. This has been a long work in progress featuring change, adapting, expanding and networking and it will only continue to grow in the future.

LO5-

It started out as my personal project idea and then evolved into an diverse endeavor that has since included everyone from the diving community, to friends and family to strangers, activists and even global organizations with nearly 18 dives which I have directly been involved in completed. It has been fruitful to say the least. You may have noticed how I went from the use of I to the use of “we” earlier on. Because that is exactly what this initiative is about. It went from one little 15 year old girl’s idea to a community wide project within a matter of years and that’s what it took to make this function and big thank you is owed to Sri Lanka Diving Tours, PADI, IVY Girls Lead, The Sunday Times and even the OSC community for making it possible! (That goes without saying my mom and dad also had a huge role to play in this, inspiring my love for diving and making all of the cross country trips.) Completing this project has helped me realize the importance of teamwork. People from all works of life and knowledge about dive cleanups contributed to this cause and the result has been IMMENSE. This goes without saying that there is absolutely no possible way in which this would have been completed without external help, carrying out a cleanup and raising awareness thereafter is no small feat!

LO6-

Underwater pollution has immense global resonance especially as of late. With many species of marine organisms going extinct or being on the brink of extinction, the importance of sustaining this biodiversity is so very essential. Fish and other species that live within these areas of debris accumulation are largely at risk of dying due to issues like swallowing plastic, net entanglement and starvation which is why I chose to pursue this project in the first place. By no means did it feel right to allow animals to suffer due to our negligence in a way that could cause a massive chain reaction starting with impacting the food chain. In addition to this the presence of debris was also impacting local tourism as in Trincomalee for example tourists were less and less willing to visit certain dive sites due to the lack of aesthetic appeal. Nothing excites them or myself about paying hefty sums of money to dive and having to swim through schools of plastic.

LO7-

In the past two years, all blogs I have uploaded and the activities that I have pursued within them have always considered the ethical implications of my actions. In this project especially that subject was centerfold. I had to ensure that all divers were safe and aware. I was ethical in making sure that no relics were removed from the Swami Rock dive site, and ensured to not harm any animals in the process. Lastly, I credited everyone responsible for the success of this project in the long run and the general ideals of Reef Revival itself are very much centered around the idea of being ethical and ensuring that animals don’t suffer because of human ignorance.

One Last Dive (For Now):

The last two dive cleanups I carried out was in Negombo the past weekend. The first dive was a nitrox dive carried out at Derana Gala, a 25 m dive site and Diyamatte Gala which was close to a commercial fishing area at around 14 meters depth. After a briefing and around a month of planning which often got pushed back due to Covid concerns, we finally set out to dive. This time around I had been given all the gear I required to release debris myself which was exciting. On our dive we had 7 people with us, my brother, myself, my diving instructor Feli, a volunteer from Germany called Johann and our boat driver Raja. This may seem like a small number of people but especially with specialized dives it is always best to keep the number of people to a minimum.

The first dive was successful and thankfully there was much less debris than we expected since the site was quite far from the shore and any civilization. But it should be alarming that there was still debris there despite how isolated the place was. The debris we primarily found on the first dive was plastic bags and bottles ( a lot of them). The second dive was completed on the following day. This time we had a slightly bigger crew, a friend of ours, Steph from Bristol, and another one of the recreational divers joined in on the fun. This dive site was  much more polluted than the last because as it turns out our dive instructor had made the mistake of telling the local fishermen that there was a thriving reef near by. And much to our horror by the time we got there there were at least 9 boats anchored right on the reef! This time around the dive conditions were a little more rocky and we had to steer well clear of the boats above us. The fishermen’s presence had created a notable change in the reef. There was lunch sheets, plastic, hooks, nets, bottles, cages almost anything you name it, they had it. We spent a good 40 minutes or so retrieving this debris before we headed back home. The data was then logged onto the Project AWARE site and also shared on Reef Revival’s social media. It was a long two days but I felt a sense of pride in completing it and Feli and his son Sashaan (who I dived with in Trinco) pledged to keep the cleanups going in all 3 locations even when  I was in university.

All that ends well, ends well

It’s over! (It’s not, not really). Although I have done my share of writing for the CAS project, Reef Revival will not be stopping anytime soon! We have so much to do, and while I can’t be around the island throughout the year I have left enough of a legacy behind for these cleanups to be continued where they are due. Now I might be heading to university in a few months but I do have a little brother who is just as keen about diving as I am, and I have no doubt in my mind that he will be able to take over my job of planning and initiating future cleanups. That being said, I will be as involved as possible given the circumstance of course 🙂

 

 

69th National Badminton Championships!

First Badminton Nationals

Game 1 (pictured above)

On the 21st of December 2021, I got a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in a badminton tournament. But not just any tournament… THE INNAUGURAL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS in Sri Lanka!! I had been playing badminton ever since I was a child, around 5 or 6 years old. I played consistently till I was in the fourth grade where I was advised not to continue it since I had picked up tennis and my coach said that badminton was interfering with my technique because I had learned to be very mobile from the wrist by playing badminton.

Many, many years later, having only continued the game in passing by either playing against cousins or friends in the odd friendly, I picked it up again in the 10th grade. I trained both in and outside of school in SAISA and a weekend endeavor to get into form. Unfortunately, SAISA got cancelled just as I had gotten selected for the team due to Covid, but I consistently continued my classes till lockdown was imposed. Thereafter training sessions weren’t as easy to come by because the courts remained shut and the classes were discontinued undecidedly. So after nearly 2 years of not playing badminton I decided to give it another shot. Again, my involvement had been a bit on and off because of the pandemic situation, so you can only imagine my surprise when I got told that I have been selected to play in the championships on a call with my mom!

Now don’t get me wrong, I was equal parts delighted and terrified because not only was this on very short notice, but I hadn’t played in around a year. My fitness was also decidedly not at its peak because my other involvements in sports were much smaller because of the lack of training sessions provided. So you can only imagine the expression on my face when I was told ‘oh its in a week, and you have one training session to prepare!’ WHAT?!! Oh, and just as conveniently, my little brother was selected too, but he had been practicing a little more regularly because his age group trained earlier on in the season.

My first and final training session began the weekend before the championship. It was stressful to say the least, there were at least 10 kids there (none from my age group) that were practicing away as if their life depended on it. Keeping in mind, that badminton wasn’t my best sport, those kids practiced nearly religiously and it was rather intimidating to watch knowing that my competition would be just as intense if not tougher to face. I ran the drills, played nearly 4 games and had to re-learn the rules of the game, ON TOP OF learning the tournament procedures and additional rules. I was little bit overwhelmed with the new information but I kept a fresh mindset. I wasn’t as practiced as the others, but this is great exposure and I was going to try my best but not come away disappointed.

And that’s exactly what I did.

Game day rolled around and I headed to the arena. It was massive to say the least with around 8 courts in the center surrounded by seating areas for the fans. The nerves were creeping up on me again but my mom asserted me and reminded me to stay calm. The games were running late and mine got delayed by a full 5 hours! It was difficult staying patient because I had limited battery on my device left meaning I couldn’t even listen to music to kill the time. When the time came, I headed onto the court to play 3 games. I won the first match, tied and won the tie-breaker set in the second and lost my last match against a really good opponent. My first two games were nail bitingly close and I would admit that my last opponent was rather well clear of me. Best of all I wasn’t disappointed as I headed off the pitch, I had tried exceedingly hard and even played with a broken sole on one of my shoes! Given the circumstances I felt super proud of myself and I could call myself a national badminton player! This would also most likely be my last chance to have done that seeing as I’ll be in university this time next year. But it truly was a phenomenal experience and I also have a huge thank you to say that regard to my friends who cheered me on and checked on me consistently throughout the day :))

My unofficial cheer squad

 

 

Adventures in Kalundewa

Staying Active on Vacation, Biking + Hiking/ Nature Walk +  Kayaking 

Biking

Views while biking in Kalundewa

This past month my family and I, along with a few family friends, ventured out to a location called Kalundewa in Dambulla which is located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka in the vicinity of Sigiriya (one of the island’s most renowned holiday location). On this trip I vouched to stay true to my goal of completing activity outside of the home whenever possible in unconventional ways.

The retreat we were staying at was extremely secluded with about a 100 acres of vacant land. This was amazing and we had a villa that was surrounded entirely by a lake and mangroves. Like anyone normal human, I could barely contain my excitement at seeing that each of the villas had around 5 bikes for transport and the bounds for riding them were, well… seemingly limitless. Just after lunch my friends and I decided to play a round of hide and seek (we were allowed to use our bikes to get as far away as we needed, but the only rule was that you had to have a phone on you and call if you weren’t found in 20 minutes). We played in pairs, and my partner and I, Mali decided to ride our bikes downhill from the restaurant, ditch our bikes and cut across this vast paddy field. The entire time we were fleeing in abject terror of getting bitten by something lurking in the grass, a snake perhaps, but we safely made it to the “safe house” which was a mud hut in the center of the paddy field. And hey, I only fell into a waist deep ditch once! We were hidden for a relatively long time but for some reason we decided that this hiding spot was just too good to give away and started running across the paddy field again. That’s when my brother spotted us and we were caught. Thankfully, we never gave our hiding place away. I would love to tell you that it all ended well but a few of the uncaught remaining people grouped up and decided to hide some-place that literally no one would find them, every time we tried to call they pick up and just end the call, which then resulted us in having to make around 6 rounds around the entire property to find them.

This wasn’t the least for our biking adventures however. We took bike rides regularly during our 4 day stay there, from the villa to the restaurant, from one bike trail to the other and we even had to bike to the swimming pool which was far outside of the property. This proved to be a great workout and I was left with extremely sore legs by the end of each day.

Everybody petting Oreo the dog after an exhausting hike

Hiking + Nature Walk

On the second day of our trip, the parents bustled about getting us to go on a nature walk. All the kids wanted to do however, was bike around and go swim. Needless to say our parents ended up reluctantly dragging us out to this nature walk that the manager of the hotel took us on. I must admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of it since he stopped literally every two seconds to point out some tree. The only thing of importance I really remember is him telling us about this tree with fruits that only elephants could consume and was used by ancient kings and queens to make poison, and if I remember correctly, and his was the only one in the whole of Sri Lanka. We were also briefly taken to see his greenhouse and his mushroom growing space which was rather fascinating. However, by around 12 in the afternoon we were all hungry, tired and had no water with us, and yet I doubt you would guess what the parents said. “Let’s go on a hike!” they said, “It will be fun!” they said. There was a collective amount of groaning as we were led towards yet another, long, and winding trail. My trip on this hike was made somewhat more arduous however as there were two babies on the trip, and one took a particular liking to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love babies, but much to my dismay a bit of baby babble directed in my general direction led me to suddenly having to carry another human being in my arms. I was exhausted, and yet that wouldn’t even begin to cut it. It was only then I realized what parents had to go through carrying their children everywhere. I motivated myself to walk the whole way through (without tripping or falling into the lake) thinking of it as a heavy arm workout. Thankfully, on the way back her dad took her back and… we had a puppy on the trail! It was a quick chase after that. All the kids were itching to get back to their rooms so we essentially sprinted back with this adorable dog on our heels.

Kayaking at golden hour

 

Kayaking

If you have been keeping up with my blog for around the past two years or so, you would know that I tend to have an affinity to kayak whenever I get the chance. This was one of those golden opportunities where the entire property was surrounded by this massive body of water, and this time my experience was made even more special because my kayaking buddy was my mom. It wasn’t my first time kayaking but it certainly was hers, so it was a patient process to try and teach her that the objective wasn’t to capsize. Shockingly enough she caught on fast, most likely inspired by her massive fear of deep waters so we were able to have a somewhat rocky yet enjoyable time. I also got to go on a solo kayak for the first time in a while which was really nice because I got to cruise down the lake at golden hour, it felt quite movie like.

Overall Kalundewa was a lot of fun and just the greatest opportunity to step away from the eye-sore that is the laptop and just step into nature for a little while. I certainly would recommend going there but even more so just going to resorts with lots of space, smaller crowds and rentable bikes in general.

 

Finding New Ways To Be Active

Activity Post #2

At the start of this year, I challenged myself to find new and more innovative ways to stay active. I interpreted this as taking on new activities and opportunities which I could use to maintain my physical wellbeing in an innovative way using whatever was available to me. In this short period of time I have taken on new experiences ranging from fishing to golf and everything in between, some of which are things I never expected myself to be brave enough to try despite my initial doubts. In hindsight even though not every single experience was suited to my tastes I have no regrets about making the most of the opportunities I was presented, knowing full well that not many people were lucky enough to experience the sports I did especially in the midst of a pandemic.

Golf

When I was younger I always considered golf to be an “old people’s sport”. You may laugh now, but if I’m being completely honest, I just didn’t get the hype of standing around on a grass field watching someone carefully swing a club for an hour till the ball meandered its way into the hole. I must admit though that my judgement is is probably biased since all my life all I ever took part in was dynamic sports seeing that at no point in football, badminton or tennis was I required to stay still and be patient; it was always about a flurry of movement, anticipation and agility.

In addition to that I didn’t think that golf required much skill, I mean how hard could it be to swing a club and hit a ball right? Right… well you see that’s actually not at all true and I had to find out the hard way. My little brother actually took to golf  quite easily last year after he played for fun while we were on holiday while I on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with it. When my parents took Dimitri to his first golf lesson, I good naturedly argued that I wouldn’t see myself playing golf with my friends anytime soon and so I didn’t go but one day  I actually ended up waiting for him at the course. It took place on artificial turf with a bunch of modified elevation levels to duplicate an actual field. I sat there watching him for about 30 minutes till I got restless, even now, I don’t consider golf much of a spectator sport, it’s more like chess, careful and calculated with  LOTS of patience and waiting. Either way, his instructor took notice and asked if I would like to head over to the other side and maybe take a swing or two and I said YES! relieved that I could finally stop counting the seconds left for his 2 hours to be over. I swung confidently thinking that I was going to replicate a Tiger Woods move just like on TV but of course, I missed. I had no technique, the wrong stance, wrong posture and wrong weighting – this is where the difficulty comes into play. Eventually his instructor came around to help me out and gave me a couple pointers on how to stand, where to swing, which muscles to use and how to follow through and believe it or not after taking quite a while to set myself up, I managed my Tiger Woods swing!! I’m kidding of course, but hey, it was a big improvement from what I did before. Now I still don’t go as frequently as my brother does and I would say that it isn’t exactly my favorite sport, but I still go and take my shots whenever I drop in, to each their own right?

My Tiger Woods Swing 😉

Getting ready to go body boarding

More Vacation Activities

Another 3 things I tried this past quarter was going body boarding, kayaking and even fishing. Now I had actually been kayaking multiple times before so this wasn’t necessarily my first rodeo but it certainly was the first one where my kayaking partner and I nearly ended up getting beached… We were just so busy enjoying the morning sun and trying to detangle our oars from the lotus roots that neither of us realized that we had ventured into the shallows which had dried out thanks to the warm weather. Thankfully it didn’t require much effort except for getting down knee deep in mud to use teamwork to drag it off of the mudbank, it wasn’t exactly what I would call pleasant but it wasn’t the worst case scenario either, either way I enjoyed it! Next up we decided to go bodyboarding. This had been something that I had been greatly looking forward to because pretty much everyone who had visited Karpaha Sands raved about the beach, and as you may already know the beach is my happy place. Body boarding was a great way to relax and just work some of that stress from school off just rolling with the waves and laughing heartily whenever one of us got wiped out, it also slipped my mind a few times that this would be one of my last summers in my home country so it was a great memory of sorts to keep and naturally a good break from the intensive usual regimes I follow during the weekdays.

Kayaking 🙂

Last but certainly not least was personally the most shocking encounters for me. My brother has been an avid fish lover since he was a little baby and now that we were surrounded by water he was literally jumping with excitement at the thought of being able to go fishing. I obliged seeing as I had seen Jeremy Wade countless times on the Discovery channel making catch after catch of monster fish and I had thought ‘Hey! This could be my lucky day!’ What discovery channel doesn’t show you however is how truly intense the whole experience is. I’m quite a softie when it comes to animals so when we actually caught a few decently sized fish like the length of my arm I wanted nothing more than to return is safely back into the water because seeing them thrash around the boat wasn’t my idea of fun. I dive, to protect animals not kill them, but sadly for us a lot of the ones that we caught ended up being dinner for our guides. That aside, the physical aspect of fishing comes from the sheer strength and willpower that is needed to fight against the fish that attempts to swim away, it burns your arms and is a constant tug of war till the fish wears out and then another battle to wrestle the hook out of its mouth. All in all I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed that experience too much simply because of my moral dislike towards it, but I do believe that catch and release is enjoyable just not when you don’t have the right resources and the odds of the fish surviving are low, in hindsight my positive takeaway from that of course is that I got somewhat of an arm workout, but I doubt I will be trying that anytime soon again.

First time fishing

Getting Back at It

Activity Post #1 – DP1 Continued Ventures

At the start of this year, one of my main activity related goals was to continue the work I did last year with hiking, football, home workouts and diving. While this year began with quite a bit of uncertainty thanks to the prevailing lockdown conditions in the country which which limited my access to sports facilities and leaving the premises of my house in general, I adapted to the best of my ability to complete my goals in whichever capacity COVID would let me.

Hiking

In my goal blog post at the start of DP2, I mentioned that I would like to go hiking at least once again in the upcoming semester and what do you know, I was actually able to go once again. We were able to revisit Hanthana where my previous hike had been but due to improved weather conditions they actually allowed us to climb up the rock where Indiana Jones the Temple of Doom was filmed!! The exact name of the mountain is unknown but its is somewhere downriver from Victoria Dam in Kandy (which Hanthana is in very close proximity to) and was relatively close to the villa that we stayed at. As for the hike itself I would say that it was rather uneventful as this time around only a smaller handful of us went because the hike is more dangerous and is also at a much higher altitude and as expected not having a five year old with us on the trip eased so much of the pressure on the remaining hikers. That being said, although the terrain got a little bit slippery on the way up we managed to get up without much of a hitch and climb down safely and I felt that this time around I felt safer and more sure because  I knew what to and what not to do i.e.. step on loose rocks on the way down…😂 OH AND THIS TIME GUESS WHO ACTUALLY PACKED THEIR LEECH SOCKS?! Yes, that’s right,  yours truly finally remembered how much she did not want to get eaten by the little bloodsuckers and made sure to bring a pair along. Moving on, now naturally the iconic bridge from the movie was sadly no longer there but it still felt insane and surreal to be standing where this legendary series was filmed in 1984  almost 40 years ago!! And last but not least even though it got a bit too foggy up top to see the entire vista it’s easy to say that this was one of the most physically strenuous yet absolutely rewarding hikes I had done :))

^ Hike #3 since the start of my CAS journey

^ A still from the actual movie featuring the bridge (Den of Geek, 2014)

Diving

Yet another thing that I have been wanting to accomplish recently is to go diving which I had been meaning to do since around 3 months ago but couldn’t do so initially because of island wide travel restrictions and other COVID related concerns. However this time, I did get to actually go do a couple dives albeit they were merely recreational because it was a rather spontaneous decision to go visit the dive centers on our holiday. Unfortunately for me I couldn’t go on more than 1 dive because I couldn’t equalize and any diver would know that the last thing someone should do is continue when they can’t equalize because it could potentially puncture your eardrum so for while my brother went on his dives, I decided to head back to the shore with my friend Nehla (who came on the trip but wasn’t a certified diver) and her family to do some snorkeling closer to the beach. Weirdly enough my equalizing problem didn’t last very long but by that time I discovered that I could. the others were long gone on their dives so I had to sit the second one out which was a bit of a bummer since I was really looking forward to my second dive but snorkeling was fun nonetheless! There were less fish than we expected though most likely because of the state of the corals in the reef which weren’t looking too healthy :/

^ Myself (left) and my friend Nehela (right) snorkeling in Pasikudah

Working Out + Football

The third set of endeavors in the activity section of my blog I am continuing in DP2 is my commitment to football and completing home workouts to remain fit. While football was limited to mostly doing challenging drills at home, taking note from videos such as which guided me through getting back in form every day after school for 30 minutes to maintain my skillset, I also used another 30 minutes every other day (depending on the intensity of the workout) and my IB Wellness Days to complete certain Cirque du Soleil workouts.  Initially, I felt as though I had just signed myself up to a year of torture because the Cirque du Soleil workouts are extremely rigorous and are mostly used by professionally trained athletes and in the first week I had to take many breaks to complete my session and it left me sore for days but after a few sessions of just building up stamina I was able to circulate through about 3 workout videos and taking less breaks. This goes without saying that the workout sessions are still a work in progress and that it’s a matter of getting back in shape before actually straining myself, so looking forward I have decided to maybe alternate my workouts from non Cirque du Soleil ones and the harder ones. In the upcoming months I aim to focus more specifically on cardio, abs, arms and legs and maybe also do some yoga every odd week to relieve some tension that gets built up following my workouts.

Practicing shots on a mini goal for improved accuracy

Here are the videos that I used:

Home Workouts –

Football-

Hikes and Football in Hanthana

From the View to the Leeches and Everything in Between

Around a month ago on April the 15th, I got the privilege of being able to travel with my family and a few friends to a region in Sri Lanka called named Hanthana (which by the way, for any film buffs out there, is where Indiana Jones the Temple of Doom was filmed!)

We set out on a rather long journey of about 5 hours (which arguably felt longer due to the migraine inducing effects of holiday traffic) from Colombo to the hillside where our villa resided. It was rather rainy by the time we got there so we immediately assumed the worst and thought we wouldn’t be allowed to go on our much awaited hike the next day. However, much to our excitement the staff at the villa said it wouldn’t be a problem.

The next morning we woke up at around 6 am and put on our gear, which for me was lacking an element because I had forgotten to pack my leech socks (yikes) and ate a very light breakfast of about 2 scones and left on our way. This was going to be the first proper hike that I had ever been on, given that the one that I talked about in my earlier post about in Hatton didn’t technically count because there wasn’t much of an ascent and since it was on practically paved ground.

As we moved towards the starting point I made sure to stick next to the guide all the way up at the front because the last thing I wanted was to be behind around 10 kids and 5 adults trying to slowly amble their way up a mountain and also… because we had a dog climbing Hanthana’s third peak with us, and no, I am not exaggerating when I say he really climbed to the very top of the mountain with unbelievable ease – Bantu the dog was always 5 steps ahead of everyone else.

It was rather tricky from the get go, in fact it was a lot steeper than we expected it to be and the footpath, well… there wasn’t one, which meant that it was a lot of loose rocks, barely there hand holds and the constant fear of slipping. On top of that our littlest hiker, Evan,  (you’re probably familiar with him being one of kids I coach football with)  was all the way at the front with the guide and he tripped a few too many times in a way that  that took the guide out and nearly took me out as well! However, thankfully, it was pretty uneventful except for a few incidents along the way where someone couldn’t adjust to the altitude and naturally the occasional scream of “LEECH! I HAVE A LEECH!!” which was quickly taken care of.  Much to my relief I never ended up with a single leech on me despite the complete absence of leech socks.

Physically it was quite strenuous because of how far up you had to reach and how much balance you needed to have, but in hindsight I felt as though overcoming the mental hurdles of climbing up a mountain unassisted was a much greater challenge. Needless to say about halfway to the peak we came across a gorgeous plateau which literally looked like something out of a dream. It was covered in reeds and cocooned by pine trees and overlooking the edge we were just above the clouds, it was genuinely a breathtaking sight.

Soon after taking a short break and climbing what felt like the narrowest part of the mountain we reached the peak, but there was another smaller boulder on top which the braver ones of us climbed. It was an amazing view and I was able to snap up some amazing pictures. All the while I was ignoring the dull ache in my legs and the fact that I was panting and out of breath; the view was simply too good to be true, it was one that was worth it all.

The climb down was a whole other fiasco if you will. Evan kept tripping up sending both himself and the guide down on multiple occasions, and somewhere on our way down I stepped on a rock as foothold which came completely loose and I nearly ended up falling off the mountain if not for the guide who grabbed me (he had Spiderman like reflexes there is no there is no other explanation for how he literally jumped about a meter to get me because he was tending to Evan earlier). It was slightly odd considering how unfazed I was I just stood up and kept walking without anything more than a few cuts and scrapes. I am eternally grateful however that nothing happened, but hey, no pain no gain right?

Regardless of all the ups and downs I had a lot of fun, conquered a new experience and overcame a few fears, while also getting some physically intensive activity in which all in all, I would call a successful outing. Even more so, it was a much needed break from the screen to  embrace nature, get some fresh air and enjoy the real world and even got to coach a few more children than I usually would before the lockdown was officially imposed afterwards! Majority of the other kids that came to Hanthana were my brother’s age meant that we had a massive open space to play in and that they were younger and willing to be coached aside for the worry that they were going to get bitten by a leach that is. Once the hard part of convincing them to come outside to play for a small while was done, I taught them correct passing techniques and other technicalities like throw ins, headers and corner kicks and finally ended our session with a small scrimmage and an opportunity for them to score at the goal, helping them boost their shooting confidence and accuracy.  At some point I even decided to play along too which was great because I had been impatiently waiting for an opportunity to get back on the field again for months on end and although it didn’t feel the same as playing competitively with my team, it was a nice game for a good laugh and some rewinding in my downtime, and I am happy to say that the kids came away with more knowledge about the game than what they started with!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coaching

My Return to Coaching 

As a part of one of my CAS experiences that applies to both service and activity, I decided to take on the challenge of becoming a co-coach of Decathlon’s La Academia on a voluntary basis. I had about 2-3 months of total work experience, where I coached kids aged 5-11 each Sunday before COVID forced the club to shut down due to health precautions. Precautions which are still applicable as of now, especially considering that these kids are rather young and since the club can’t really afford to take any liability for the spread of the pandemic. So in the absence of my half internship half part time job, I decided that I could find other alternatives to do the same but in a different context.

After hearing about my time as co-coach, I was approached by a few of my parents’ friends who were wondering if I could spend one on one time coaching their kids. This was a brilliant opportunity for me to both practice my ability to coach and to share some of my experience so I immediately said yes.  Now, naturally there would be no pay involved, but I would take any excuse to play the game and even teach some kids a few things about something that was so important to me growing up so there really is no loss in taking it up. So starting last Sunday, I began leading my own sessions, I have 4 kids who come for training as of right now, mostly 7 and 8 year old’s from the OSC community itself  along with another kid who is a neighbor  (we don’t have a field to play in as of now which I am not too worried about since we currently play in one of my mom’s friends backyard’s with two goal posts as well).

Although the initiative may seem small in numbers right now, I think that it couldn’t really be more ideal. For one thing, I have known most of these kids since they were little so engaging with them is much easier, on a second note I’m a single coach whereas at Decathlon there were two others so I prefer keeping it low in terms of numbers as it’s easier to manage especially since they’re at a very talkative and mischievous stage, and lastly, like I said earlier, there is very much a pandemic raging on right now so it’s safest to keep the numbers small.

From first day experience I can only describe is a both fun and draining. The kids that I got introduced to are quite energetic (that might be a little bit of an understatement) so retaining their attention for extended periods of time has been by far the trickiest part of coaching, but thankfully with my earlier experiences I now know how to deal with that.

I began their sessions with a few laps around the garden, some basic stretches and warmups and passing drills. Next I put aside cones for them to dribble around, and we spent a good amount of time making sure they knew where to pass from and how to keep control of the football. Next we practiced some heading since I knew it was important to alternate my drills between educational and somewhat fun to keep their interests. Towards the last 30 minutes of my two hour session with them I decided to let them play 2 v 2, even playing the role of goalie when none of them wanted to be in goal. It was also important to give them little tips here and there to communicate, not clutter around and pass the ball and judging by their laughs they were having as much a blast as  I was watching them race to take shots. I have to say that  I was pleasantly surprised by how good they played for their age level. Just before they headed off I decided to incorporate one last fun piece, which was to try and teach them each a skill move before they went home; last week it was the nutmeg which they absolutely loved, but they played rock paper scissors to decide who got to pick the next skill they wanted to learn.

Overall, it was incredibly rewarding and I really look forward to doing it again in the coming weeks  :))

^ Evan practicing his ball control on day 1 of practice

Easing Into Normalcy – Sports Edition

SURFING IN WELIGAMA + BADMINTON TRAINING + BIKING

During the past 2 lockdowns, I have had limited access to resources that enable me to do two things I love to do; to travel and to be active. Unfortunately as a result of the pandemic many people including myself were limited to the confines of our houses with travel restrictions, lack of access to sporting facilities and training opportunities etc. As someone who likes to be kept on their feet all the time, the withdrawal of playing my favorite sports or even not being able to travel hasn’t exactly been my definition of smooth sailing; but thankfully, the provision of vaccinations has made it possible for me to slowly ease my way back into most of my favorite activities.

BADMINTON TRAINING

As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, football restarted and as did badminton only this week. This was exciting primarily because it’s been a while since I was allowed to go back into the courts since we trained in closed spaces with fairly large numbers.

A few things have changed however, in regards to how our sessions operate, though I can’t complain because it’s all being done in an effort to prioritize our health. For example, as opposed to group classes with a large number of students, my brother and I were given the option of private lessons, that is till it becomes safe for more people to be in close proximity again. Although the downside is that I won’t be able to compete at the moment with players who are at my level, I get more one to one time with my coach to perfect things like technique and focus more on fitness, similar to what I have been doing recently in football practice.

Primarily our lesson this week consisted of agility training, quite a bit of cardio, and a 6 shuttle drill where you place them on 6 parts of the court and sprint to collect them before your opponent. As for personal areas for development I was told that I could work on my serving which I’m sure I can get down in no time, it usually takes some time to know where to make contact, positioning and stance etc.  I practiced clearing shots from my coach as well and he was quite happy with my work although I missed two shots because of bad reaction time.

Overall, I’m really excited to get back into shape and hopefully I’ll be able to play some actual matches soon in order to be fully prepared by the time next SAISA season rolls by!

Video From Training: Clearing Drill

https://drive.google.com/file/d/14u35-5NoFWyWl_pktGverfqPlOSqOYI3/view?usp=sharing

 

SURFING IN WELIGAMA

Another thing I was able to accomplish this month was learning how to surf :))

I had been wanting to go surfing for the longest time since I was young, and even more so now that  it was one of the only water sports that I hadn’t really tried out except for kitesurfing and water skiing. So  being given the ability to travel after not being able to go to the beach for a very long time was the perfect opportunity for me to go catch a much needed serotonin boost at beach on the long weekend.

My experience with surfing began as we headed down to the Marriott at Weligama Bay for a little vacation after our trip to Hiriketiya for my beach cleanup.

After taking some much needed rest, we decided to wake up at the break of dawn to have some breakfast and then head down to a sparsely crowded beach at around 6 am. There, both my brother and I got introduced to our guides and we had land training where they taught us how to position ourselves on a board, how to catch a wave how to stand up and where to jump off before we reached the shore. My little brother, Dimitri, admittedly picked it up faster than I did because he had gone surfing before.

When we had gotten the technique down and tried it out in the shallow water, our guides took us over to the point where the waves form, for the first couple tries they would hold onto the board and give us a cue to push off and stand up.

Much to the amusement of my onlooking mother, my form was a little wobbly at the start and I had to do a lot of not so smooth looking jerky arm movements to retain my balance, but I swear that I eventually got the hang of it!  It was a fun yet exhausting 4 hours, having to paddle all the way back to the wave point each time, and I even once forgot to jump off before it got too shallow and ended up getting a nasty cut on my knee, but it was time really well spent. I can safely say that I am no pro at surfing but I very much look towards learning how to a become better surfer thankfully I got good enough to move to a more challenging part of the beach which made my experience that much more exciting. Hopefully though,  the next time around I’ll be able to catch some of the bigger waves and stay on with minimal struggle, because after seeing the older surfers on the beach I was a tad star struck, especially by this girl my parents pointed out to me who was maybe my age or a little older taking on some GIANT waves with ease and doing all these really cool flips on her board; which I have a gut feeling that it took way more than two tries to learn to do something of that caliber because it was so well executed.

Intro Session to Surfing ^

First try: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BMZnQOlkYBqDnVkX0RaaCTNTi8ykso36/view?usp=sharing

BIKING:

Another sport that caught my interest a while ago was biking, you might remember a post I made a few months ago on my time biking at Ullagala, well, thankfully, I’ve been able to do it much more frequently thanks to getting my own bike fixed. After getting back and getting it serviced, I’ve been using it quite frequently, in fact, it’s a pretty neat commute to all the nearest stores and this gorgeous lake / paddy field areas right next to my house! The roads close to home are fairly safe to travel on and are arguably well paved so I get the opportunity to take nice bike rides in the evening or even very early in the morning which is a nice change from the exercise bike that I had been using all lockdown long.

When we were on holiday, it was pretty amazing since even that resort had a bike service and all we had to do is ride it and return it before we left. Now, the views weren’t quite as nice as at Ulagalla but the track was seemingly a bit longer and had more routes to take which was great. It was extra fun this time around because all my friends who came on the trip had a lot of fun with it, playfully racing each other to the end or even trying to do cool tricks like riding with no hands on the handles. (We came away without so much as a scratch much to everyone’s relief!)

It’s been great so far being able to cycle around at different times of the day because it has an incredibly laid back nature to it especially when I’ve gotten a pair of headphones on and am just trying to take in the scenery by myself and of course, this goes without saying that it’s improving my general fitness and my lower body strength in particular :))

biking! ^

 

Tennis!

Tennis Practice

If I’m being honest, I don’t remember the last time I picked up a tennis racket, in fact if I remember correctly, it would have most likely been sometime between the 4th and 6th grade. Now, nearly 5 years, 2 COVID lockdowns, and one Australian Open viewing later, something has prompted me to give the game another go.

What inspired me to randomly go grab my racket from the garage you ask? Well, that would be the Australian Open Finals which I randomly tuned into on TV on the 21st of Feb. Now, although I had grown up playing tennis, even competitively since the 2nd grade, I never really kept up with the professional aspect of the sport. However, what I did know was that Serena Williams being beaten by a rookie was without a doubt a big deal; Naomi Osaka was being called the future of the sport and taking the world by a storm.

So, I decided to put my work aside and sit down for a good 2 hours on a Sunday to watch the finals between Jen Brady and Osaka and then, the game which crowned Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek the Men’s Doubles Champions.

It was only then that I had realized how much I had forgotten about the game and how satisfying it was to win a game. Although, I thrived in the sport when I was a kid, at some point I grew out of touch with it; primarily because I dedicated more time to badminton which is similar in many ways but still very different, and even though I missed it dearly, I never saw a window of opportunity for me to get back to playing it.

In fact I think that part of me stopping my tennis training had to do with the fact that one of my coaches said that playing both sports at the same time was not beneficial to one another; i.e. because of vast differences between grip and stance etc.

On another note though, watching Osaka bring home the trophy was sensational. It reminded me of how fast paced the game was and how heavily it relied on technicality and athleticism, i.e. precision, angling and power, whereas in badminton for example, the game relies more on the pace and ability to play the shuttle out of the opponent’s reach.

I was in awe watching the finals as a calm and collected Naomi Osaka kept her composure and then proceeded to skillfully and effortlessly win the game with copious amounts of technique and athleticism. It’s almost as if she knew all along that she would win and she saw Brady’s blind spots from the very start.

As for the men’s doubles, I was awestruck when I realized I had forgotten how intense a game could get and how quickly points could be won or lost and how it relied much less on rallies but placement. Once again, I was shocked by how each of them maintained such calmness while playing under such massive amounts of pressure when the winning duo recovered from a pretty bad lead.

Either way, I was delighted by both wins, I was rooting for Naomi from the start, especially since she had done so much to use her platform to promote the Black Lives Matter movement and her persona really shined in the way that she was humbled by the whole experience. Moreover, I found myself in awe of how much she has accomplished being an Asian, considering how much our culture tends to often times restrict the bounds of what girls like myself and many others from our side of the world can dream about achieving.

I had a renewed sense of energy and immediately made a pitstop to the store next to our house to get a tennis ball. Now, things weren’t ideal, I didn’t have a coach or a proper court close by , but if there was anything that lockdown had taught me, it was that you just had to make do with what was available to you. And so with a new sense of determination I vowed to myself to  take 30 minutes out of each Sunday without fail to make 40 volleys each on  forehand and backhand off a wall, 10 good serves and if my little brother was up to it, hopefully a little match which could never get too intense for the fear of breaking a window…

As to whether I want to play competitively again, I’m not so sure, but it’s most definitely a huge stress reliever for me and not to mention a really fun way to spend time, in fact I a part of me is even hoping that I would be able to head to a court with some of my friends sometime, since a few of my friends  used to train with when we were kids all the way back in primary school!

 

 

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