This is the second part of a September 2014 feature about sports that can be enjoyed as a family. For part 1, click here.
Logan Ambraz (age 11) is from Tampa, Florida and has been living in Beijing for the last four years. His father, Paul, works for IBM and his mother, Kelly, is a teacher at House of Knowledge. He and his sister Lauren both attend the Western Academy of Beijing. Logan learned to dive here last year with Steven Schwankert of SinoScuba at Blue Zoo Beijing, where he did his confined water dives. Since then, he has completed his open water dives in Sipadan, Malaysia and gone diving in Australia.
What made you want to try scuba diving?
My dad does scuba diving. Scuba diving is a family sport; my sister also scuba dives and my mom snorkels.
What do you like about diving?
I get a whole new perspective on the ocean and sea creatures.
What’s the hardest part about diving?
The studying. There’s a lot of information to remember. It’s very important to not make any mistakes underwater; it can mean life or death. Steven, my instructor, spent a lot of time with me teaching me not only how to use the dive tables, but also to scuba dive safely.
Has anything scary ever happened to you while underwater?
Nothing scary, but I had a weird encounter with a fish when I was in Malaysia. When I went up close to it, it pooped in my face and my dad laughed. It was really weird.
Do you think you’ll continue scuba diving?
Yes, I will continue to scuba dive because it is fun. You see a lot of things that you don’t get to see often or otherwise couldn’t see.
Do you have a favorite professional diver or other marine adventurer?
I don’t really know many people that scuba dive for a living. I admire my dad because he is a really good scuba diver and he has taught me a lot about the ocean. I also respect and admire my instructor, Steven Schwankert of SinoScuba.
Dives take place at Blue Zoo Beijing, Workers’ Stadium South Gate, Chaoyang District (186 1113 3629, email@example.com)
Though 11-year-old Valarie Reed (US) only recently started playing Ultimate Frisbee with Sports Beijing, she picked up the game quickly. In Ultimate Frisbee, each side tries to catch the disk in the other’s end zone. Possession changes very quickly, and good communication and teamwork are key. Valarie is no stranger to team sports, having played baseball since kindergarten. The International School of Beijing student explains how Frisbee fits into her baseball-heavy schedule and shares her experience learning a new sport.
How long you’ve been playing Ultimate Frisbee?
I just started playing this winter [January 2014].
What made you want to try Ultimate Frisbee?
At first I didn’t really want to do it, and then I realized it’s really fun. I’ll probably do it again next year.
What do you like about Ultimate Frisbee?
The games we play at the end. You have two teams, and one person throws the Frisbee to the other side of the court and you have to try to get the Frisbee back. It’s sort of like [American] football, but with a Frisbee; you can’t tackle and you can hit the Frisbee down. I like to play team sports; a lot of the people I played with didn’t go to ISB, so I got to meet some new people from other schools.
What’s the hardest part about Ultimate Frisbee?
I think I was one of the youngest players and a lot of the other kids had played before. But it was still pretty fun. They teach you the throws and other skills through drills, just like in football.
Do you think you’ll continue doing Ultimate Frisbee when you grow up?
Maybe as a side sport because I focus on baseball. I really enjoy playing [Frisbee] and there are not that many sports in the winter.
Besides Sports Beijing, you can also check out this officially-recognized Ultimate Frisbee organization consisting of six teams. Each team is geared towards players of different levels and backgrounds, but they all come together for pickup games, summer league and social events. Check their website (beijingultimate.com) to learn more, participate in pickup games, and find contact information for specific teams.
This article originally appeared on p56-59 of the September 2014 issue of beijingkids. To view it online for free, click here. To find out how you can obtain your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Dave PiXSTUDIO, Joseph Reed