USAB Represented at 5th Annual Adaptive Sports Expo

Nov. 15, 2019, 5:15 p.m. (ET)

On Friday, October 11, USA Badminton was represented at the 5th Annual Adaptive Sports Expo at the Long Beach VA Hospital.  The expo is put on by the Spinal Cord Injury unit. USA Badminton was represented by Para coach Dean Schoppe  assisted by Musashi Cohn. Both coaches come from the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club.

Here is the review of the event from the eyes of Schoppe:

The event was attended by patients and their families and was a great day for everyone.  That is not the story however.

Badminton and the people who play are the story in this case.  I set up the booth early and the court early that morning, so the net was up and waiting to be used.  We had a demo time set for later that morning, but I left all the rackets and shuttles out and despite the Santa Ana winds, people started to come and want to hit around.  Still no big deal.

We had quite a few wheelchair vets come and try it out, and a couple of them were very good using their power chairs and especially considering the high winds that would kick in at random moments.

What was so impressive were the volunteers who were assigned to our area.  We had four people, two males and two females.  They could all hit the shuttle and had the skills to allow me to step back and play a supporting roll and offer tips to the vets.

Soon three of the volunteers were squared off with one vet and playing a game in the wind and heat. As time went on, I had to ask them who they were and where did they play badminton?

Amazingly, two of them were in their last years of getting their Doctorates in Physical Therapy and one was an undergrad in Kinesiology at California State University Long Beach. The fourth was also in his last year of his Doctorate in PT at USC.

Badminton is in so many places and parts of life around the world.  Rebeca Chin and Lordesa Fok were both originally from Northern California and had only played in physical education classes and during club play at university, yet they were able play and really added to the experience of the vets involved.

The two guys were from Southern California, Peng Leng Heng played at Lakewood High and amazingly, Derrick Poon of USC had been a finalist in Boys Doubles in the 2008 CIF SS Championships when he played for Alhambra High School.

Our most enthusiastic vet was Adam Wolf who while serving in the Army deployed in Afghanistan was the victim of an explosion while traveling in a Humvee that left him unable to walk.  As it turned out, Adam had lots of tennis in his background and it showed in his form and ability to hit the shuttle in adverse conditions.

To top it all off, later that day we were visited by former US Junior Champ and USA Pan American Team member, Dr. Lilly Chen!  It turns out she works in the spinal unit and she sought us out to say hello and offer support.

Badminton is the thing in this story that links all of these diverse people. Always be aware that lots of folks we pass by each and every day may be part of our secret ranks. Play on!