The result of a person’s success comes from his myriad of sweats. This is absolutely true for Meng Fei as a basketball court cleaner as he wiped through athletes’ sweats that wet the floor.
Oddly enough, Meng rose to fame over the internet by wiping the moisture exuded profusely by athletes off the floors of basketball courts in Shenzhen. His job was simple but tiresome: to keep the courts sparkingly dry so to prevent the players from injuries.
Meng started at the age of 24 as a volunteer cleaner at Shenzhen basketball court in 2013. He didn’t get much education because he was dropped out from high school.
Every time a player fell, Meng would sprint out onto the court with a cloth on his hand and wipe the floor dry, leaving no sweat stain on the ground which caused by the sweaty athlete.
“I’d wipe the floor as hard as I could, and run off again once the floor was clean,” Meng said, “It’s mostly a muscle job.”
But his work was deemed as a performance because of his passionate dash and the determination in his eyes every time he charged towards the sweat. So much so that his short appearance onto the court became a highlight of the game to the audience at home as well as the people in the stadium.
“I tidy up my clothes each time before I enter the arena.
“I’ll gel my hair and wipe my shoes, too,” he said, as he wanted to look professional to the audience.
Through his diligence and resolution, a clip of him running onto the court was captured by state broadcaster CCTV in December 2016. In the brief moment of the clip, he was seen holding two towels and eagerly wiping down the floor during a match. Little did he know that after that day his life would completely change. A star was born after the broadcast.
China’s social media users raved about Meng’s diligence, his passion and his sense of urgency in going about his simple task.
His work ethic was so commendable and it caught the attention of a team in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), which is China’s equivalent of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Happy to bring his work to a big league venue, he became part of the Shenzhen Marco Polo team’s pre-match warm-up performance.
His success didn’t stop there. Not long after, he became many CBA teams’ favourite and he was frequently called in to wipe their floors before a match start.
Meng’s career reached its zenith when he was invited to wipe the floor at the CBA all-star game last January. Not taking the opportunity for granted, Meng trained two weeks for the event by running 10km every morning. He is truly a worthy person that works on the court.
Over the ensuing months, the news about Meng never stopped. His name and face were spread across social media, reaching beyond the arenas and the sport’s audience which he worked in.
About half a year ago, a Beijing-based technology company offered Meng a job as a manager’s assistant at an annual salary of 200,000 yuan (approx. RM124,000 or RM10,333 per month).
“Now that many people recognize me, I have discovered that the opportunities I have in life have increased,” he said.
“I’ve always believed that there’s a bigger stage out there for me.”
Commenting on his newfound fame and landing of a high paying job, he said his achievement didn’t come overnight. He said it was his hard work that put him where he is today.
Before he interviewed for the position, he said he spent half a month pouring over instructional video clips of people doing job interviews, analyzing what they did or did not do well.
He self-studied diligently before going into the interview and at the end of the day, the effort paid off.
Despite holding a high paying job now, he said he was not ready to close the book on court-cleaning just yet. He said he dreams to wipe the basketball courts at an NBA match some day. Who would have known that his dream would come true so soon.
Wang Zhizhi, a prominent Chinese basketball player who was a bench player for the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat, offered Meng an opportunity to clean the floor at an NBA match. And with that, he completes his dream.
There is no one job that is insignificant. Meng’s tenacity in cleaning the floor of basketball court had elevated him to fame and success. So keep up the effort, guys! Every day you are on a stage and it’s your decision to shine or not.