by Jacquie Steuart
Although Roy Liu (Events Coordinator and Program Assistant) describes himself as “once shy and kind of geeky,” he feels blessed to be able to relate to people and adapt to different circumstances—abilities he has relied on to make friends over the years.
“I’m a lone wolf,” he chuckles, before breaking into a boisterous rendition of Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself.” Liu explains that he had been sent to a boarding school in England when he was young. After a few years there he was reunited with his family, and at age 14 they moved to Killarney in southeast Vancouver where he began high school.
Despite moving around a lot as a child and being separated from his family, the 31-year-old Liu says that one of the ways he was able to adapt to his new community and form new friendships was to engage in team sports.
Be open to trying new things. If you don’t try, you won’t know.
He had always had an interest in sports and learned to swim, play table tennis and badminton while living in Hong Kong. When he moved to England, he added rugby, cricket and football (soccer) to the mix. He says it’s helpful for kids to get to know the sports that people care about in different countries. Therefore, upon arriving in Canada, he learned to play basketball, football and street hockey.
It is also important to remember, as Liu points out, “We have unattainable expectations, and kids think that in order to be great you have to be like [basketball player] Steve Nash…it’s important to teach kids to love the game…just play.” But he is quick to joke, “If you are good at football, then everyone will like you.”
Your Team Becomes Your Community
Team sports provide players with a common ground. Everybody learns the same game and plays by the same rules regardless of cultural differences. “Your team [becomes] like your community.”
While attending Langara College, Liu took every opportunity to attend Open Gym. “Basketball, indoor soccer—sooner or later people get to know you a little bit, and even though they don’t really know you or I don’t even know them, they will pass by, they will say, “Hey, hi Roy, how are you doing?”
This recognition from fellow players can bring people together and give them an all-important sense of belonging, even for a self-described lone wolf.