Fit & Fab: Two sports suit Frisbee fan's competitive style
While some find it difficult to be good at one sport, Donna Gee finds it hard to manage her sporting talents. The gifted Australian represents Hong Kong in not one, but two sports, while juggling a full-time career heading the design faculty at a private secondary school.
Gee, 30, plays ultimate frisbee and touch rugby for Hong Kong - two lesser-known but intense sports that are gaining in popularity. She recently returned to Australia for a touch rugby competition, and last year she was in Japan for the Ultimate Frisbee World Championships.
The juggling act isn't deliberate, she says. "Frisbee was never meant to be serious; it was just about having fun."
But her competitive spirit stirred, and she found herself excelling at the sport after picking it up two years ago.
"Once you have that competitive streak, it is very difficult to turn it off," she says.
Balancing training and work requires simplicity: sleep, work, train, eat, and not much else. When training for both sports is in full swing, she's out of bed before 6am, trains for up to three hours a night, and rarely gets to bed before midnight.
Though each sport involves different skills, they both require lots of running, and that keeps Gee in top shape. Frisbee is the tougher of the two, she says.
"You play until a score is executed, so sometimes you can be on the field running non-stop for 14 minutes. I've never pushed my body as hard as I have in frisbee. You run until you have nothing left." Is sport about the game, or is it about the people? The people. I think the way people view sport in Hong Kong is quite different.
Here, you build much stronger connections with your team and the sporting community is much smaller.
Although everyone is competitive, the spirit of the game carries through much more. What does sport bring to your teaching? Does it have an influence? I would hope my ability to balance my sport and work commitments is an inspiration to my students. I'd like to show them that they are able to do more than just focus on their studies. What's been the impact of sport on your life? A lot of my mentors have come from sport and have affected some key life decisions. I've met some of my best friends in Hong Kong through the many sports I've played - frisbee, touch rugby and dragon boating. I met my boyfriend in the frisbee squad, and he gives me a lot of inspiration.
If I didn't have these pursuits, my life in Hong Kong would be very different. How has sport shaped you as a person? Sport has taught me to get the most out of life, and to try anything. Stay motivated and don't give up.
It's also taught me to be more generous, and to give as much as you can to other people. I think when you play a team sport, especially at a high level when you have coaches and managers that organise the teams, you realise how much people do for you and the team.
So you want to give back as much as you can. I've helped to establish a touch rugby team at my school and we now have 30 students taking part. Do you think Hongkongers can sometimes do an excessive amount of exercise? You definitely need to have a limit, and you have to take a break every now and then, otherwise you lose the passion for it. Over summer, I've been enjoying a bit of down time. Everyone needs that at some stage. It's nice to have a break and then come back a bit more driven, a bit more focused, and start again feeling refreshed.