Her room is covered in Yu Yang posters, her bed has Yu Yang sheets, she carries around a Yu Yang doll in a Yu Yang backpack. She brushes her teeth with a Yu Yang toothbrush.
But last week when Yu Yang and her partner decided to tank their match so that they could manipulate the seedings of the badminton Olympic event and avoid having to square off against the other Chinese team until the finals, it exposed the horrible underbelly of elite badminton play.
And in the process, it destroyed in one fell swoop my daughter’s dreams and any desire she had to follow in Yu Yang’s footsteps.
Watching the match live on the computer, she started asking me what in the Dickens was going on. The play was so cartoonish, so strikingly bad, even she could tell something was amiss. I didn’t want to believe it at first; I hoped my daughter was just nitpicking at her hero’s play. But in the hours and days that followed that disgusting display, it became all too clear that Yu Yang was indeed throwing the match.
And it fell to me to tell my daughter the awful, terrible truth about her idol. What a gut-wrenching conversation that was…
If you had told me before the Olympics started that I would have to look my daughter in the face and explain to her that her hero threw a badminton match, I would’ve said you were nuts. Never in a million years did I ever, ever, envision something like this happening; something that literally shook the foundation of my daughter’s world to its core.
The sleepless nights, the endless tears. And for what? It’s madness. Will she ever get over this? Will she still want to play badminton at family picnics? I know she’s young, and she’s resilient, but is this too much to ask of a little girl whose world revolved around this sport? I don’t know. I really don’t know that she’ll ever recover from this.
We can only hope and pray.
You are now informed. Go and do likewise.