Lynn’s Commonwealth Games story
Lynn Young’s heart condition didn’t stop her getting involved with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. She explains how a mixture of volunteering and badminton keeps her active.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games were a resounding success for the host nation, with Scotland coming fourth in the medal table. But for one woman from the Scottish Borders, the Games’ spirit was just as important as the range of sporting talent.
Her love of badminton helped former PE teacher Lynn Young cope with a diagnosis of coronary heart disease just before her 40th birthday. While Lynn was understandably devastated by the news, coaching badminton gave her a new lease of life.
This newfound ‘life’s too short’ attitude pushed Lynn to volunteer at the Games, where she was assigned as team leader for the court moppers (also known as court attendants). It would be Lynn’s third time witnessing a Scotland-based Games and she was determined to make the most of it.
We have to recommend volunteering, because you learn so many skills, meet so many new people.
“You know, I might well have not volunteered, had I not had heart disease,” she says. But Lynn’s new mantra is “live for the moment”, and she encourages others to do the same.
During the Games, Lynn was responsible for a group of volunteers aged between 18 and 25. She volunteered at the 1986 Edinburgh Games as a 19-year-old, so found it easy to identify with her young team and ensure that they got the most out of the experience. “I wanted my team to really enjoy it,” Lynn, now 48, says. “I was trying to make sure that they weren’t as blasé as I was [at their age] so that they soaked up the atmosphere.”
The bagpiper at the medal ceremonies was Lynn’s personal highlight. “He would come out, play his bagpipes and then the Commonwealth anthem would just strike up,” she recalls. “It wasn’t so much seeing the winners get their gold medals that did it for me; what I liked more was the music and the anthems of other countries. It was just something about the pride that they had.”
For Lynn, volunteering is hugely beneficial, no matter what the context. “We have to recommend volunteering, because you learn so many skills, meet so many new people, learn about yourself and get opportunities.”
Lynn is now planning to help set up courts at the Scottish Open Badminton Grand Prix because, as she notes, “you never know what’s around the corner”.