Baker’s cyst

About 3 weeks ago during a competition match the our badminton team, I started feeling a light pain and discomfort at the back of my left knee. It hurt a bit but the pain didn’t get worse so I kept on playing. After the matches my teammates said they didn’t notice any difference in my movement or game (we won the match with 8-0 that day).

Unsure what to do, I took it easy for a week, until we had our next match, and see what my knee did then. That Sunday evening, during warm up I already felt that this was going to be more than just a little ache: after a couple of sprints across the court, I immediately felt that same discomfort again. I finished the match, again without the pain affecting my gameplay, but I knew something was up.

There’s a difference between pain and injury and this sure looked to be the latter.

Last week I went to see my sports doctor about it and the cause of the pain is most likely a Baker’s cyst:

popliteal cyst, also called a Baker’s cyst, is a soft, often painless bump that develops on the back of the knee. A cyst is usually nothing more than a bag of fluid. These cysts occur most often when the knee is damaged due to arthritis, gout, injury, or inflammation in the lining of the knee joint. Surgical treatment may be successful when the actual cause of the cyst is addressed. Otherwise, the cyst can come back again.

So 2 things:

  • Given some rest, elevation and anti inflammatories, the pain should subside
  • We don’t know what’s causing the cyste to form.

So I have another full week of rest in front of me and then I’ll try a little run again to see how it feels. I’ll keep you posted!

Yonex Belgian International 2015

Last week marked the 11th edition of the Yonex Belgian International. The tournament is part of the Badminton Europe circuit and is generally regarded as one of the best on the circuit, both in level of play, presentation and organisation. All of that wouldn’t be possible without the amazing group of volunteers we have each year. The group changes every year, people come and go but this year’s group was pretty great: lot’s of new faces that knew when to work (hard) and when to play (harder) and it was an absolute blast once again.

FVDV4810-2
The Crew, image by Fons Van der Vorst

And we had some great matches on court all week, with the everything culminating in 5 long and hard fought matches in the finals on Saturday. Most notably, the Men’s and Women’s singles winners.

Anders Antonsen (DEN, WR220) is only 18 years old and most known for winning the 2015 European Junior Championships. At our tournament he started in the qualification rounds, won 7 matches to reach the final and only dropped a game in 1 of them. In the final have faced of against his friend and countryman Christian Lind Thomsen. 58 minutes later, Anders toke the watch with 21-18, 21-17. Everyone in attendance was amazed by the level of play from the young Dane, this will be players to keep your eye on in the future, he’s going places.

_JHE8813

In the Women’s singels final we had another youngster, the 15 year old Jin Wei Goh from Malaysia. Coming up the the qualifiers, she beat 5th seed Rong Schafer (USA) in the quarter finals and 2nd seed Kirsty Gilmour (SCO) in the final on her way to the top spot of the draw. Before the Yonex Belgian International, she was ranked 329th on the world ranking but being only 15 years old, she hasn’t played that many senior tournaments.  Her speed and attitude on court was surprising for a player of her age and experience level. Another one to watch!

_JHE8875

 

Back on court

This weekend marked the end of the 2014-2015 badminton season for our 1st and 3rd Men’s teams, both of which I’m a member of.

Yep, I’m playing badminton again. Let’s back things up for a couple of years. I’d been playing badminton for years when I left school, got a job and moved out of my parents house. I kept playing occasionally and tried to find a new club here in Leuven, but with so much new stuff going on (I also got my degree in evening school during those years) badminton moved to the background and eventually I stopped playing all together.

The only things I did that was badminton related was volunteering at the Yonex Belgian International every year. And for the last couple of years, when the tournament had come and gone I got an itch to start playing again. And this year, things  finally stuck and I joined a club and started playing again.

And you can be damn sure that was right decision. Not only am I really enjoying being back on court and I’m almost playing at my old level again, the people on my team(s) are great. They’re exactly the right mix between competitiveness and having fun. Because winning it great and all, but if we’re not having fun than what’s the point right? 🙂

★ Yonex Belgian International 2012

Just got back from a crazy week at Sportoase Leuven where the 8th edition of the Yonex Belgian International Badminton Championships took place. This year marks the 8th edition of the tournament and the 8th year that I’m there as a volunteer. That thought by itself sounds kind of crazy to me. I don’t think I’ve ever done something 8 years in a row. Anyway.

This year’s tournament was going to be bigger than ever before, with over 300 players from 33 countries in the draw, all hotels fully booked and with national television covering the finals live on Sunday.

But first, let’s go back to last year. After the 2011 tournament, my sister and me had an idea: the entrance hall at the venue has a double ceiling that is pretty high and we thought it would be neat to hang badminton shuttles from it. The idea moved to the back of our minds and that’s where it stayed until about a month ago. We (my sister and me) headed to Sportoase on a Saturday morning to check out the situation and to figure out the practical side of things. After that we had to a) get approval from the rest of the organisation team and b) get permission from Sportoase to actually hang them. A meeting and a few phone calls later and those were covered as well. Then came the biggest challenge: find the shuttles and find someone to help us because it was going to be a hell of a lot of work. We kicked things off during the weekend before the tournament: on Saturday morning Liesbet, Nele and myself spray painted 25 square meters of wired fence black and tied fishing wire to about 700 shuttles. On Sunday we got together again to tied the other end of the wires to the frames (we had cut up the fence in pieces of 50cm by 1m and tied 20 shuttles to each). Later that Sunday we picked up another 400 shuttles, bringing the total amount to just over 1100. We got them to Sportoase on Monday and started hanging them on Tuesday morning. That took much longer than expected since the wires had gotten good and well tangled up during transport. But by 3pm, everything was done and it looked great (if I may say so myself).

_JHE4651

_JHE4675

Onwards with the actual preparations for the tournament. Tuesday afternoon the badminton courts and all the other stuff arrived. Around 4pm the sound- and light crew arrived as well, they had to set up the lights before we could start doing anything in the hall. On Wednesday morning, the rest of the volunteers arrived and we started the actual preparations. I had a GoPro set up to make a time-lapse of the entire hall build up, here’s the result:

Since the tournament has taken place for 8 years, we have a solid group of volunteers that know everything inside and out and that need little to no direction to get going. A bunch of hard-working people with a can-do attitude, that see what has to be done. And that’s priceless! This year we were missing a couple of those “core values” and had a bunch of new folks on the team and I wasn’t 100% sure about how that would go. Afterwards, I’m glad to say I was proven wrong. I can even say I had a better time this year than last and a couple of the new people are to thank for that. (you know who you are :))

On Thursday we played qualification rounds, on Friday the main draw. During both days I took photos and made several short movie clips. On Friday we also had a group of tournament organisers from other tournaments over to visit our event. They were attending a meeting hosted by Badminton Europe to discuss to future the the BE Challenge Circuit. Our tournament is ranked at the top of the BE circuit when it comes to organisation, venue and prestige so we were very happy (and proud) that Badminton Europe choose to hold their meeting during our event and that we got to show around the other tournament organisers.

On Saturday morning we had quarter finals, until around 14h. Then we changed the hall from 6 courts to 2 courts for the semi finals (time lapse available here :)). In the evening, after the semi’s, we changed the hall to one TV court, with a car from our sponsor, a VIP room and a entry-tunnel through which the players would walk on (made a time-lapse of that as well, watch it here Late night on Saturday evening, early rise on Sunday morning as the TV broadcasting crew was arriving at 7am. Four hours later, with cameras installed, directors on site and music & lights working, it was time for a last rehearsal. When doing live television, it’s very very important that everyone knows what’s to happen when and in which order. We had pretty decent matches in the finals, first 3 matches all went to 3 games, which threw of the schedule a bit but were good to watch and that’s off course what’s most important. During the finals, I was court-side with my camera.

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=109615

After the finals all the volunteers gathered in the hall to break things down. Courts, carpet, lights, tents, tables, it all had to go. The tournament was over. And off course?. time-lapsed it (can you tell how much I love my GoPro? :)) A couple of people had to leave early and that put a little downer on dinner after things were done (it’s always more fun to finish something with the whole group).

As I finish writing this a week has past, I’m still not caught up on sleep and I’m still not out of the usual post-tournament black hole. After a frantic week of running around and being surrounded by great people, it still feels weird to be dropped back into every day life with things like work, meetings, housekeeping, etc…It’s been a crazy, long, tiring week but I’m glad I was part of it once again. See you all back in 2013 (and hopefully a lot sooner as well :))!

★ Street Art in London

During my visit to London last week, I did a guided walk by the guys over at Street Art London. The walk took place on Saturday, from 11h to 15h and along the way we saw loads of beautiful pieces and the guide (a very nice who likes to be called Griff) told us lots and lots of background stories on the pieces and on the artists themselves.

We saw a couple of fresh pieces that weren’t there the week of even the day before and missed some because the county or the building owner had painted them over.

The group was fairly large and Griff kept us going at a stiff pace so by 13h we could very well use a drink. We stopped at Cargo, a big bar/dance venue. Empty during the day but I can imagine this place being quite the party at night. During the break we talked among to participant and had a refreshing drink (the sun was full out that day, 25 degrees and up).

I was really amazed by some of the drawings and paintings we saw, some as large as a building, some so small you’d walk straight past them if you didn’t know they were there. We saw a bunch of Roa’s, 2 sticks, some C215 work, Phlegm and BLU. And the glimpse of what used to a Banksy.

The walk made for a great time and it showed me a side of London that I didn’t know about (and one that I never would have discovered on my own). Highly recommend this to everyone visiting the city!

Bellow you’ll find some pictures I took during the walk (I don’t remember all there artists’ names?)

1) by Roa (this guy is actually from Ghent)

DSC_4317

2) Stik

DSC_4371

Others:

DSC_4376

DSC_4377