By: Staff Writer Monica Tang
Varsity Badminton player Senior Roshni Iyer was selected on April 17 from over 760,000 candidates throughout California as one of two recipients of the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) Spirit of Sport Award this sports season. The Smoke Signal sat down with Iyer to find out more about her achievement and her behind-the-scenes journey to success.
Smoke Signal: Can you describe the CIF Spirit of Sport Award?
Roshni Iyer: The CIF Spirit of Sport Award basically recognizes students who live the ideal of pursuing victory with honor in their lives and athletic endeavors. Typically the award is given to one male and one female student during each season of sports, so in this case, the spring season of sports. Student athletes are chosen based on several factors, but the three main ones are sportsmanship, community service, and leadership.
SS: What is the application process for the award like?
RI: I know that I was nominated by MSJ Athletics for the award, and additionally, I had to fill out an application. The CIF governing body is responsible for monitoring student and athletic performance across all spring sports in the state.
SS: What do you think set you apart from the other candidates?
RI: I don’t know exactly what set me apart from the other candidates, but I do know that I am passionate about what I do and I enjoy doing what I do. I know that over my four years as part of the MSJ Varsity Badminton team, I have shown consistent performance and have been a good team player.
SS: Besides badminton, what other activities are you involved in?
RI: Playing badminton is one thing but teaching badminton is another. On top of being a player, I’m also a badminton coach, which I really enjoy. I teach kids, teens, and adults in badminton. I’m really passionate about this because I believe it’s a great way to spread the word of badminton around our community. On top of that, I have served as one of ten student reps for the WASC accreditation committee, and our school for the last year was successfully accredited for another six years. I’m also a MSJ MASH tutor.
SS: How did you first get into badminton?
RI: It’s kind of a funny story, but I was given a present for my sixth birthday: a racket and a shuttle. Ever since, I was just playing around and hitting with that in my backyard. I really liked it and my parents saw that, so then I joined a badminton club.
SS: What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from playing badminton?
RI: Badminton has taught me to never give up. There are many ups and downs in life, but badminton has taught me that really everything is in your mind. Obstacles are what you make of it. You can take it as something that discourages you or you can take it as a challenge that encourages you to do better. I’ve also learned through badminton that a game is not over until it’s over, so whether I’m up several points or down several points, it doesn’t really matter. It’s what you do at that moment which really counts in the game. It also taught me that attitude is key for everything. If you think you’re going to do something, then you will do it. In this sense, it’s taught me to really believe in myself.
SS: Achieving a good balance between sports and academics is difficult. What is your secret to your success as an athlete?
RI: Actually, I think that they are both interconnected, sports and athletics, because sports not only gives me exercise, but it also allows me to socialize with others. In this sense, it’s a great stress reliever for me. That said, with top-notch academics like MSJ, one obviously has to have good time-management skills.
SS: What do you find most rewarding about badminton?
RI: For me, badminton, like I said before, isn’t really about the winning or the losing. It’s the actual journey and my growth as being part of the team that I feel is the most rewarding. In a game, you have to constantly deal with several different emotions, and badminton has really taught me how to utilize each emotion in a positive way. Such as when I’m up or down several points, it has taught me to stay focused and play one point at a time in each game. This has helped me to use my emotions in a positive way, not just in badminton, but in daily life, whether it’s hardships you’re dealing with or struggles or whatever it may be. At the same time, badminton has helped me to make lasting friendships.
SS: What advice would you give to younger students seeking to earn the CIF Spirit of Sport Award?
RI: Whatever you do, I would say you should do it with passion. Do something not because you’re going to get something, like a scholarship or for college applications. Whatever it is, do it because you actually like doing it. Learn to be patient with yourself and realize that success isn’t a one-day thing; it’s going to take its own time. Learn to accept that improvement will take time. Lastly, success is not something you should chase behind or try to follow. Instead, you should work hard, be dedicated, and do the best you can do, and automatically success will follow you.