H.K. The Sportsman

My dad was a lifelong sports enthusiast. He was invigorated by promoting and organizing them. From managing the Rice Bowl Football team and its fundraising for China in 1937-39, to founding an “Old Timers” basketball game charity event in 1952, he enjoyed using sports to generate money for charitable causes.  H.K. thoroughly enjoyed getting people interested in sports. To that end, he was Co-founder and President of the San Francisco Chinese Basketball Club from 1947 to 1949, and co-founder of the San Francisco Chinese Sports Car Club in 1954.

     H.K. was an avid tennis player. Noted for being the steadiest influence in San Francisco’s Chinatown to promote tennis to the Northern California Chinese population, my dad loved everything about the game. From 1932, when he first picked up a tennis racket, through the rest of his life, my dad was passionate about the sport. In the early 1920s, residents of San Francisco Chinatown were troubled that the only place their children had to play was in the Chinese community’s tiny streets and narrow alleyways. Efforts to find play space received continuous opposition from the city planners. Plus, there was not a lot of open space in Chinatown for a tennis court. To address that concern, my dad was one of the people instrumental in getting the first public tennis court built in Chinatown in 1925.  

By 1935, tennis had become so popular among young people in Chinatown that my dad recognized the need for an organized tennis club, and was a founding member of the San Francisco Chinese Tennis Club. His reasoning went beyond the actual sport, too. My dad already knew that discrimination blocked Chinese Americans from playing in mainstream U.S. tournaments. He felt that organized competitive sports had the power to bridge cultural gaps and build community. As President of the Club in 1937, the Club became known nationwide, and that same year H.K. became an accredited member of the National Capital Tennis Association (NCTA) and the United States Court Tennis Association (USCTA). In 1947-48 and again in 1950-51, he was the first Chinese American to serve on the Board of Directors of the Northern California Tennis Association.  In February 1992, my dad was posthumously inducted into the Northern California Tennis Association Hall of Fame. He was the first Chinese American to be given that distinction.

My dad was always game to try something adventurous, especially when it involved sports. On Thursday, December 16, 1954 in his column, H.K.’s Corner, H.K. wrote about a humorous duck hunting experience. My dad also enjoyed fishing, and taught me how to fish and how to clean and descale the catch.

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