The Sports-loving Vice Rector Haydn Chen

You probably know Haydn Chen as the vice rector for student affairs, but did you know that he is also a sports lover through and through?

Haydn’s passion for sports is varied—he plays badminton, volleyball, baseball, tennis ball, and basketball; non-negotiable—he said to his wife when they got married, “There is one thing you can’t interfere with; don’t try to stop me from playing sports;” and non-stoppable—even with a jam-packed schedule, he still manages to squeeze in sports time every week and he is a regular user of the Sports Complex at UM, especially the badminton court.

“I’m not a pro when it comes to badminton and other sports,” Haydn says with his trademark humility. “But I’m a bona fide sports lover, no question about that. I would feel like something is missing if a day goes by without me doing sports.”

It’s a truism that exercise has many benefits for our well-being. Not only can exercise make us stronger and healthier, it also helps the body release chemicals called endorphins, which have been linked to feelings of happiness. But Haydn goes one step further on the merits of playing sports, saying that it makes one smarter. “Many people think that athletes are all brawn and no brains, which can’t be further from the truth,” says Haydn. “You need to be smart to play sports to begin with, and sports make you smarter. In fact some professional athletes who have reinvented themselves after retiring have done very well in an entirely different field.”

Haydn enjoys every match, regardless of the outcome. “When I lose, I try to come up with a strategy so I can increase my chances of winning the next time, which is not only great fun but also a good mental exercise in its own right.” For Haydn, playing smart is not just limited to after-match reflection, he also likes to plan beforehand, like when he was expected to play the champion of the first badminton competition held earlier on the new campus. “I found a young badminton partner and our plan was that he would be covering most of the court,” says Haydn with a mischievous smile.

Someone once said, “Badminton is like ballet dancing. It requires a lot of control, strength, mind play and measured movement.” For Haydn, badminton is certainly one of his favourite sports, but he advises students to choose the type of sport that suits their temperaments and interests, whether individual sports like yoga, swimming and jogging, or team sports like football and badminton, because, as Haydn puts it, “There is no such thing as a bad sport.”

Release on 2013-12-30 15:07

Haydn

Haydn
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Haydn (1st from the right) encourages students to participate in sporting events.

Haydn (1st from the right) encourages students to participate in sporting events.
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