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Establishing Harmony with self & others: Oakley Hong Kong Open Pickleball Champs 2023

I'm sitting here reflecting on my latest journey in Hong Kong, where I was fortunate enough to win the 35+ Open Doubles and Singles events and clinch prize money in my relatively short pickleball career. Something struck me during this tournament that differed from previous ones in Bali, Chinese Taipei and China. The difference was that even though I was competing among some of the best players in Asia, I had a different sphere of understanding towards the game. I know I have spoken about this before, but this time it was particularly clear what this game meant to me.

Often, we stay active and healthy by putting on a pair of shoes and going for a run or to the gym. In my case, I played tennis and used to be a triathlete. But pickleball has a different kind of effect on people. Pickleball can reach out to the masses and influence people while allowing them to stay active and healthy, physically and mentally. It is almost like a game of chess with the ability to compete with your mind and body in a relatively short time without the rigorous training that some other sports require.

It all clicked when I was in Hong Kong this time around. I think the word that comes to mind is peace. I think the state of playing pickleball must always be one of harmony and peace with ourselves and within a community. As this sport grows, I realise we start polarising ourselves because of specific beliefs, ideologies, and expectations. It is not to say that anyone is definitively right or wrong because we see the world from different lenses. However, the ability to play as one with the people you are playing with, whether they are better than you or not as good, is also important. Ultimately, to establish internal harmony within yourself, you must establish harmony within the community. I've always said that pickleball has this tremendous ability to do good and great evil and because the sport reaches out to so many people, it can influence people negatively or positively.

So this Hong Kong trip, even though I am very thankful for the medals and amazing prizes that came with it, also gave me this new realisation that harmony in pickleball is so important. Try it out next time when you play this seemingly simple game. Establish that harmony when you play amongst others, and you will see the game in a different light. You will understand that this sport of pickleball is not just about winning or losing but about self-discovery and bringing the best out of yourself, regardless of circumstances. This, to me, is one of the most significant facets of pickleball.

This is Darren, until my next post, onward!


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