Love and a Bully lead Ben Nguyen to Victory at UFC 193 in Melbourne

Nov 15, 2015; Melbourne, Australia; Ben Nguyen (red gloves) reacts as he competes against Ryan Benoit (blue gloves) during UFC 193 at Etihad Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 15, 2015; Melbourne, Australia; Ben Nguyen (red gloves) reacts as he competes against Ryan Benoit (blue gloves) during UFC 193 at Etihad Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
While the Holly Holm – Ronda Rousey fight was the focus of most people watching UFC 193 in Melbourne, Asian American Ben “10” Nguyen’s win over Ryan Benoit in the prelims caught my eye.  Announcer Joe Rogan called Nguyen’s performance “perfect.”  That victory was reached through a long and global path that includes love and a tattoed bully!  Ben Nguyen, born in South Dakota to Vietnamese immigrant parents, met an Australian girl when he was training in Thailand.  He followed her to Australia and continued his MMA career there.  A year after the actual fight, the above video with Julian “Julz the Jackal” Rabaud went viral, and the publicity helped Nguyen secure a UFC contract.

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Family Fights back after losing Two Sons to Pediatric Cardiomyopathy

Because I have two teenagers who are active in an extremely strenuous sport and one of them (Number Two Son) started complaining about chest pains, I started reading an article with a title about children dropping dead from exercise.  What caught my attention was a story inside about a family who lost two sons to Pediatric Cardiomyopathy.  I can’t imagine losing one son much less two, but Lisa Yue and her husband Eddie Yu moved beyond mourning and acceptance to starting the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation, which is dedicated to driving research on this disease and to provide services and information to sufferers of this disease and their families.

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7 Ft Tall Bhullar Brothers Take On Basketball

I’m relatively obsessed with height. I’ve always dreamed of not just being an awesome basketball player, but also looking like I belong comfortably in the paint*. I even tried to play in 8th and 9th grade. I had the same coach both years, who I loved, but hated when I felt like he was constantly yelling at me and gesturing confusingly from the bench while I felt like a short, scrawny chicken running around with my head cut off. Either way, I clearly didn’t have much instinct for it, and the coach even yelled once, “THIS ISN’T VOLLEYBALL, GET THE BALL!!!” when I smacked it out of someone else’s hands. I’m still kind of traumatized by it. Though I wasn’t cognizant of it at the time, I now wished I could have seen at least one Asian American on either the boys or girls basketball teams.

So, of course, I’m in awe after coming across the story of Sim and Tanveer Bhullar, two Indian brothers who moved to a school “nearby” to play basketball. From the way they are coming along, the pair will picked up at the college level. By marital default (my husband bleeds black and gold – need I say more?) I have to hope that at least one of them (but definitely, both, especially since they want to play together) goes to Pitt, where they will be bigger than the famed Primanti Brothers sandwich. And with their growing athleticism, if basketball doesn’t work out, maybe they can try for the Pittsburgh Pirates, where the mascot is currently their best player. Though I’m not the biggest Pennsy fan, I love that they’re here in the same state, and would potentially make Pittsburgh that much more interesting.

Hopefully, this will make Jeremy Lin not feel so lonely as one of the few APAs in the sport and others aware that tall Asian Americans do exist, as Jeff wrote about in his experiences with his sons’ basketball team. Maybe someday I’ll have kids who will be inspired by these great trailblazers and be tall enough to play some legitimate ball (and not dump their milk at breakfast like I did and now regret), so I can live vicariously through them.

*I have to admit I had to verify some basketball lingo and sports statistics with my husband. He’s not so thrilled about my Pirates assessment, though he knows it’s very true.

Mirai Nagasu Joins the U.S. 2010 Olympic Women Figure Skating Team

Over the weekend, Arcadia, California native and sixteen year old Mirai Nagasu came in second place in the 2010 US Figure Skating Championship to secure a spot on the U.S. women’s figure skating team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Earlier in the week, Nagasu came in first during the short-program competition (see video). Ever since I was a kid and watched Dorothy Hamill skate, I’ve always enjoyed watching the sport. I’ll never forget when I got to see Michelle Kwan skate live in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics short program. She came in first at this event, later capturing the bronze overall.

Also over the weekend, The New York Times did an interesting story on the propensity of Asian American and Asian women to dominate the sport of figure skating:

“Eight of the 23 women scheduled to compete Saturday in the long program at the United States championships were Asian-Americans, who also excelled here among younger skaters… Without compulsory figures, skating became more like gymnastics. Jumping assumed a new urgency. Younger skaters could excel. The key to jumping is to leap high and spin quickly and tightly through two, three or four revolutions before returning to the ice. Asian skaters are often small and willowy, which can be an asset when jumping… Other cultural factors are also at play, coaches said. Discipline at home often transfers to discipline at the rink, Carroll said. Audrey Weisiger, a prominent Chinese-American coach, said: “A lot of Asian families really drive their kids, and I don’t mean in the car. They’re not allowed to be marginal.””

The article also mentions that former Olympians such as Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan have a lot to do with inspiring, especially Asian American women, to take up the sport. I’m sure that is the case and why I believe that Asian American role models outside of traditionally accepted passions, careers and vocations are important. Of course, the drive and expectations can have a negative effect as well – where Asian Americans (especially women), might feel put an inordinate amount of pressure on themselves.

Asians Can Roof You Too

kevinwong It’s about that time of year where most volleyball players start shifting from outdoors to indoors.

Not too long ago, I joined the regular crew at our usual gym to rally up a few games. A pretty funny incident happened after I had squarely roofed a spike; one of the gals told me that I was showing my true colors and it wasn’t Asian. I still laugh about it since I was one of the taller guys out of the Asian clique growing up.

And it’s not often that you get guys with hops and height in this sport. Not of our ethnicity at least. But that didn’t stop Kevin Wong or his brother in becoming AVP superstars and totally blowing away both stereotypes.

The more I think about it, the less there are of Asians that actually bust out in either sand or indoor volleyball. Not sure why since it’s a very fast paced sport that you have to keep on your toes for so you don’t get nailed in the face (or somewhere else) when an opposing team member is sailing through the air to tear one into you.

Either way, volleyball players everywhere will shake in their boots because… yes, the word is out. Asians can roof you too.

Taiwan’s New 2009 World Games Stadium Completely Powered By Solar Energy

It’s not the Olympics but Kaohsiung, Taiwan is currently hosting the 2009 World Games (世界運動會), an international multi-sport event meant for sports that are not contested in the Olympic Games. Running from July 16 through the 26th, the games features events such as Aikido, Parachuting, Bodybuilding, Bowling, Casting, Flying disc (Frisbee), Sport Ju-Jitsu, Karate, Netball, Orienteering, Sumo, Surfing, and Tug of war. (I know, I haven’t heard of a bunch of these sports, either).

Although the U.S. is not represented in the medal rankings, Taiwan (competing as Chinese Taipei) is currently ranked #2 behind Russia with four gold medals. (See current medal standings)

kaohsiungWorldGameStadiumOne of the most interesting parts of these games is the main venue itself: World Games Stadium, which was designed by famed Japanese architect Toyo Ito.

This recently constructed structure is a beautiful solar-powered stadium that will generate 100% of its electricity from photovoltaic technology. The dragon-shaped 50,000 seat arena sports 8,844 solar panels which could potentially generate 1.14 gigawatt hours of electricity every year; that is, enough electricity to power up to 80% of the surrounding neighborhood when the stadium is unused. (Construction information)

Aside from being solar-powered, this stadium is green because of bio-diversity, forestation, water conservation and energy saving of buildings. Other interesting facts:

1.The photoelectric cells allow 30% of total sunlight through, therefore delivering a real-time weather change to audience
2. Reduction of CO2 Production Sunlight electricity generation reduces 0.53kg CO2 per 1kwh, as compared with traditional method. In this project, the generation capacity is 1000kw and annual generation is 1.1 million kwh. Base on these figures, the total reduction of CO2 discharge is 583,000 kg (equivalent to CO2 reduction capacity of the green lands).
3. Avoid Daytime Peak Hour Consumption of Power As one kwh costs 3 Taiwan dollars, and power generation are available 3 hours everyday, 3000 kwh can be generated in a single day, and 10,000 Taiwan dollars can be saved.
4. Photoelectric Conversion for Outdoor Facilities Photoelectric conversion can be applied to road lamps, scenic spot illumination and information indication.

Not only is this stadium being lauded for being “green,” but the architectural sensibilities are being admired for its “humanity.” I believe it will be looked upon as a model for future sporting arenas to be functional, beautiful and environmentally-friendly, as well. And, it’s totally going on my “must-visit” list for a future trip to Taiwan.