Racquetball vs. Squash

April 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

When an American sees squash in action for the first time, he immediately thinks of racquetball – a popular game played in American schoolyards everywhere. There are lots of similarities between the two sports. Both squash and racquetball players hit a ball to a three-sided wall and the goal is to not let it bounce twice. The rackets used are strikingly similar and the rules are nearly the same. The main difference between the two sports is the court and the balls.

Squash is played indoor, frequently on a “glass court” – a playing box surrounded by four glassy walls. The sport was born an activity for the elites, and the glass courts were a symbol of opulence. Racquetball, on the other hand, could be played indoor or outdoor. Many U.S. primary schools have racquetball courts (the cheap ones with concrete walls), because they are inexpensive to build compared to tennis courts. Both sports do not have global appeal. The greatest squash players all came from Commonwealth countries, while the best racquetball players are from North America. 

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Memories, Part II

April 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

From time to time, some guests would visit the orphanages. These guests would hear about the orphans’ stories and cast a sympathetic eye upon them. Unknown to the guests is the fact that these orphans absolutely despise their petty pity. They just want to be treated like everyone else. All they want to do is to run away from the painful memories, start a new life and be free. In due course, some of them would do just that.

By day, these kids would wander the streets begging for money. By night, they would become “night phantoms” preying on bystanders’ wallets. On occasion, they would lurk outside the local ice-cream store stalking a family of three sharing a big glass of ice cream together. For a brief moment, they would recall the good times they shared with their deceased parents. But the experience is brief, lasting only seconds; they are soon on their way.

At the end of the day, they would seek refuge under a bridge somewhere. There aren’t any beds or pillows for them to lie on, but it is just what they have always wanted. All the activities, during the day, have made their legs sore and their backs ache. Within minutes, they are soundly asleep. May be in their dreams, these poor orphans will finally escape the memories that have been haunting them. Sweet dreams…..little ones.

Click the tag “Memories” to read the previous entry of this story.

Memories, Part I

April 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Memories are indisputably our most precious possessions. A person without memories is like a kite without a flying line. But memories are double-edged swords. They can bring meanings and joys to one’s life; they can also bring sadness and despairs. In the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami, there were images of children gathering at a Red Cross facility–hoping for any news of their parents–only to later learn that their loved ones had perished in raging waters. I was so touched by the story that I decided to keep a tap out for any follow-up stories.

A few months later, I found a news report that mentioned how there was an unexpected spike in the number of missing “tsunami” orphans. Apparently, many “tsunami” kids had decided to run away from the orphanages where they had been staying. The news, as depressed as it was, did not take me by surprise. There were obvious reasons for this.

Most of the kids, living in orphanages, are children who were abandoned by their parents at an early age; many do not have any memories of their parents. Consequently, these “orphans” treat the orphanages where they are being raised as homes and other kids at the facilities as part of their family.

On the other hand, orphans whose parents died in accidents and other unexpected events have spent most of their lives in the loving and care of their parents. They are likely to have a hard time making the transition. Every time they hear laughter, they will be reminded of all the good times they shared with their parents. Every time they hear someone crying, they will be reminded of their many tantrums and how their parents pacified them with hugs and kisses. Every time they lie on bed, they will be reminded of the many bedtime stories their parents had told them. Memories can indeed be dreadfully painful.

Click the tag “Memories” to read the next entries of this story (if available).

Why do Asian players dominate competitive badminton?

April 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

Competitive badminton is not something you play in your backyard. If you have a chance to watch a real badminton game, you will realize how athletic and skilled a serious player is. But for some reasons, this sport is dominated by Asian players to the level of inequity. The list of the greatest badminton players is populated by shuttlers from China, Indonesia and Malaysia. Why is it the case? Caucasians are tall and strong, and thus don’t have a disadvantage in racquet sports. Tennis is a good example of this. May be it has to do with the fact Caucasians generally don’t play badminton. Still, there should have been at least some top players from Europe and America even with a smaller pool.

Is car racing too dangerous of a sport?

April 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

No sport is as dangerous as car racing. Even with today’s technology and safety mechanisms, there are deaths resulted from professional racing every year. The thing that makes it worse is the fact risk-taking is a requirement to win in this sport. The more successful you are the more frequent you will involve in a crash that endangers the drivers as well as the spectators. In fact, some of the greatest race car drivers such as Dale Earnhardt and Ayrton Senna died on the track. I know racing at extremely high speed is quite thrilling, but is it worth the risk of losing one’s life? If you are given a chance to be a race car driver, would you take that chance?

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