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  1. #1
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    Post NEWS : A changing sports field

    http://www.bazeley.net/mosaic/news/a...rts_field.html

    a nicely written article. Bintang is one of the local gyms here that i visit frequently...

    -----------------

    A changing sports field

    By Manu Jain and Ajay Krishnamurthy
    MOSAIC STAFF WRITERS

    Sweat dripping from his brow, 16-year-old Chris Chen anxiously waited on the bench for his chance to get into the game. Absent-mindedly taping his aching wrists, Chris stared out onto the court, where his friends and little brother battled. A voice called out to him to quickly get onto the court - he had "next."

    Chris slowly got up from the bench, wiped off his black basketball shorts - and picked up his badminton racquet and a shuttlecock.

    Chris, a junior at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, is just one of thousands of Bay Area teens who have turned away from the "all-American" sports of football, baseball and basketball and picked up a new breed of athletics, such as badminton, tennis, soccer and lacrosse.

    "Nationwide, the two biggest shifts in the last couple decades have been a burning interest in soccer and a flight from baseball," said Kevin Matthews, director for external affairs at the Center for Sport in Society at Northeastern University.

    The evolving culture of sports mirrors the growing diversity in the Bay Area.

    "The diversity in the Bay Area strengthens badminton," said Phu Khuu, Saratoga High School's badminton coach. "We have every nationality you can think of."

    Khuu is the owner of the Bintang Badminton Academy in Mountain View, and he privately trains hundreds of teens interested in playing competitive badminton. Khuu's team recently took home eight medals at the U.S. Junior Nationals in Louisiana. He disputes the notion that badminton is a "soft" sport.

    "It's easier to play, but it's hard to play at a high level," Khuu said. "You need the gracefulness of ballet but also the strength of a wrestler."

    Fremont High School junior Terrence Hun said he quit playing basketball because so many of his friends started playing badminton.
    "I used to play basketball but I lost interest in basketball," he said.

    But some say the growing interest in sports such as badminton and tennis may come at the expense of more well-established sports. Mission San Jose High School in Fremont was not even able to field a varsity football team in 2002 because of a lack of interest. Monta Vista High School in Cupertino - another school in a very diverse community - has also experienced a decline in participation in its football and baseball programs, as students have opted for other sports.

    "Most Asians don't play football because their parents don't want them to play," said 17-year old Ravi Dev, a senior at Monta Vista High. "They haven't been brought up playing Caucasian sports."

    Many student-athletes feel that the flight from traditional high school sports has become a disturbing trend in the Bay Area.

    "I feel that it's kind of discouraging," said Mission San Jose senior Preston Joyce, who had hoped to play varsity football in 2002. "It'd be nice to have a football team every once in a while."

    Immigrant parents play a large role in determining what sports their children play. Seventeen-year-old Ankit Dhamija said he was pushed into playing tennis as a child.

    "I played because my mom made me," said Ankit, who was also interested in playing basketball, but was unable to because he was just "too short."

    Robert Yee, a 2003 Monta Vista High graduate, was introduced to tennis by his parents.
    "My dad liked it and thought it would be fun," said Yee, who has been an instructor at the Cupertino Tennis Center for the past three years. Like Ankit, size was also a factor in Yee's decision to play tennis. "If you look at Asians, we're not that big," he said.

    Matthews, of Northeastern University, said the growth in certain sports will continue to change as the demographic makeup of the Bay Area evolves.

    "What we're seeing in the Silicon Valley is driven by an immigration trend,'' he said. "There's been a very obvious change due to Asian immigration. They're going to bring their sports along with them."

    Terry Ward, athletic director of Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, hasn't seen that happen at his school. Ward says the weakening athletic traditions across the Bay Area - not the changing demographics - are to blame for the turn from traditional high school sports.

    "Because we have strong tradition, people come in and continue to participate in sports," said Ward of sports at Bellarmine. "We have changed along with the rest of Silicon Valley but our programs remain the same."

    Bellarmine, however, is an exception in the Bay Area. The prevailing consensus is that the ethnic diversity has changed the face of high school sports forever.

    "All of the diversity - that's what makes it interesting," said Eric Luescher, Silver Creek High School athletic director. "The more opportunities we give our kids to play non-traditional sports, the better it is."

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    If the interest is there, then the next issue is the funding. Parents and students need to lobby school boards to set up programs and buy equipment.

    I wonder if Gov. Arnold will be any help. He has always been a supporter of fitness. Think he's ever tried playing badminton?

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    however, dont forget his mandate of being elected, to cut deficit. Since he kinda promised not to raise taxes, this mean his options are to cuts, slashes, and to terminate some programs

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    maybe its just me but the article felt somewhat racist.

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    It only make sense that the demographics play a crucial factor in determining what sports is popular. We all want to excel at what we play, but how can a 5"6', 130lbs asian expect to outplay a 6"2', 180lbs caucasian in (American) football or basketball when both of them are similar in skill level?

    It has nothing to do with racism. It just has a lot to do with the physical characteristics that come with the different races.

    -Rick

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    its not the physical comparisons that struck me as racist. its the comment that the change in sports interest seems bad.

    Many student-athletes feel that the flight from traditional high school sports has become a disturbing trend in the Bay Area.

    "I feel that it's kind of discouraging," said Mission San Jose senior Preston Joyce, who had hoped to play varsity football in 2002. "It'd be nice to have a football team every once in a while."

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    I don't see any undertone in that statement... they're just expressing regret for not having a football team... a traditional American game. It's like badminton players complaining that authorities hasn't build enough badminton facility for them... instead more baseball fields were built. Something along that line. Definitely nothing wrong with complaining of a pastime once enjoyed... passing into oblivion.

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    Originally posted by quagmire
    its not the physical comparisons that struck me as racist. its the comment that the change in sports interest seems bad.
    Personally, I did NOT see anything wrong with it. This student is just speaking of his mind, and he's telling the truth of his sadness and disappointment toward the fact that there's no football team.

    Like badminton fans trying to spread out the words, to promote the sports we love deeply in our heart, other ppl have the right to protect (or, at least, trying to save) their own interests.

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    A changing face of sporting interests in part due to migrants bringing their own interest in different sports. It sounds very factual and logical to me.

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    Default open minded? the american way??

    Personally I'll have to agree with quagmire..

    It sounds like there is a lot of "unhappy" feelings that children (and/or their parents) preffer other sports than the good-ol' traditional "all-american" ones..

    For us who likes badminton, martial-arts etc more than NFL, NASCAR and NBA.. it is just great that young people choose "our" sports instead of "boring" stuff like baseball (my personal opionion, of course)...

    I have little sympathy for people who want's to dictate what's right or wrong for other people.

    cheers,

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    the best thing to do is to try every single sport and giv it a chance. but it is hard to make a team with no one but you on the team. so it is kinda sad. in my school theres like all kind of sport teams except football, because of the lack of interest that people is givin

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    thing about badminton and tennis tho, it's less benefitial for a school to promote, as the individuality of the sport doesn't rally as much school spirit as a team sport like football would, where a great number of participants play together.

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    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Variety is the Spice of Life!

    Thank God, the world is full of variety and this includes sports!

    Some sports are considered "Caucasian", others "Oriental". etc, but I suppose this has got to do with the origins of the game and its popularity with the people. But, unless we are born with physical disabilities, we are all endowed with the ability to move about, to run and to use our limbs for an enjoyable activity either individually or as a team. But most special of all is our ability to use our brains - to think of new things, new methods, new ways of doing things; to be creative and introduce new inventions and improvisations.

    This has nothing to do with racism in a negative sense although it is only natural that a sportsperson should always capitalize on his natural attributes to attain a higher level of performance. As cited as an example, it is futile for an average Asian to challenge a much bigger sized caucasian in American football, unless he is equally huge himself. It is much better for him to stick to table-tennis or badminton, a sport which emphasize not so much on physical size as on dexterity, speed, skill, reaction response, tactics, etc.

    But to restrict oneself to just one sport or game without the opportunity to try out others is to miss out on what life has to offer. To be an appreciative spectator is good for any game and one needs not be actively involved with a game as a player to be a good spectator.

    So getting to know other sports and finally settling for one which you really like is just fine, be it that you are influenced by your parents, friends or your idol. You may even have to make changes along the way because of circumstances. But, be happy in the knowledge that you are enjoying yourself in a sport in congenial company!

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    Sport is international... period. Some sports are more popular in some areas just like some food is more popular in some areas. Size is a factor though and each race has different average builds and different muscle types.

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    If this article is true about the demographics, then let's hope in 20 years our children will grow up watching badminton daily in North America on regular cable programming

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