When first hearing the international league, Erik was so surprised since he could never image that Cantonese were so passionate with badminton. This international league is organized by many overseas returnees in Shenzhen, and his neighbor Ben, a local with a master degree in Connell University of US, is one of the organizers. The teams in the league are classified by the nations where they used to study or live in, and as a graduate from Chicago University, Erik is a replacement of the US team, the same team with Ben.
Guangdong has millions of expats from all over the world, and their sports habits as well. Guangdong has tried its best to provide services and facilities to meet their desires. "I could never image how passionate Cantonese are with badminton, and also never image how convenient it is to book a badminton field in the stadium," Erik said.
It is a fact that foreigners pay more attention to various kinds of sports. However, with the emerging population of Cantonese sports-lovers, now for those sports-loving foreigners, it is common to find locals when doing sports.
Angelo has been doing gym regularly since he was in university in France. When he went to Guangzhou three years ago, he joined a gym nearby out of habit. Usually he runs for 45 minutes on treadmill, and exercises himself on strength machines for about an hour, later he spares about 15 minutes to talk with his coach about his exercise plan. During the past 3 years, he has kept his exercising frequency of 3 times a week.
At the beginning, he found himself the only foreigner in the gym, and there were not so many locals coming to do sports either. Most regular exercisers were male. Later, he gradually found the gym became crowded and more new faces came to do sports, and he got to know some local friends there. Now the situation has changed greatly. Whenever he goes to gym, there are always several people on the treadmills running. Coaches are not so available as before, as many young ladies need coaches’ guide to start their journey with strength machines safely.
Of course Angelo met many foreigners in the gym, too. Brad is one, and he is also a coach in the gym. Brad is from US, and used to be a financial executive. He presents a picture of a fat man and introduced that it was he in 2006. "At that time I was very busy with my high-pressure work, and became very fat. Then I tried a lot to lose weight, but failed."
One day Brad met a stranger in the pub, and faced great changes in his life. Under the guidance of that stranger, or exactly a fitness instructor, Brad lost weight of 25 kg and shifted his attitude and way of life. He started to learn more about fitness and attempted to gain the certificate of fitness instruction. Gradually he felt tired of his job as a financial executive and run a fitness club himself. Several years ago he was encouraged by his friends and opened a fitness club in Guangzhou.
When talking about Cantonese doing sports, Brad admitted that more locals came to him for help, some want fitness, and some want losing weight. Angelo agreed with Brad. "I don't think that Chinese people do not like sports. There are many people in Guangzhou loving sports. Just take a look at the splendid performances in Guangzhou International Marathon!"
Angelo added that even though foreigners preferred to do sports in gyms, now more are willing to do outdoor sports. Many foreigners choose to jog in the evening, and he even joins a running team. Besides, Angelo introduced that now in a social network for foreigners in Guangzhou, there are many sports groups focusing on particular sport, such as basketball, badminton and squash. Members in the same group hold off-line activities regularly, and Angelo himself once joined a running game organized by the jogging group.