Badminton – Day 16
My friend, Sugar, invited me on a no-strings lunch date, which automatically made me think she wanted a clandestine affair. Before I could fully consider my orientation options, what I was going to wear and how long she had had these feelings for me, she made it clear that “no-strings” was Badminton’s pay and play national initiative. Feeling spurned and hurriedly washing off my perfume, I agreed to join her for a spot of badminton and a sarnie after.
Sugar (as in Alan Sugar because she is so entrepreneurial) is not only a hockey player but also plays club badminton. She offered to take me along to St Austell Bay Badminton Club’s lunchtime session. I occasionally play tennis and my adventures have already taught that I have hand-eye-ball coordination, but do I have hand-eye-shuttlecock coordination? Although, having written that last sentence, I see I do have an ability to resist the childish option on occasion!
I enjoy meeting new people and getting coached by all of the clubs I am visiting, but I was quite looking forward to having a knock about with a friend. No pressure. Experience the sport, take a picture and have a good old chinwag. The chinwag on the way there was successfully accomplished, so I assumed that the rest would slot nicely into place. I was incorrect.
I was introduced to Lyndon, the club secretary, who initially looked baffled by my presence but after an explanation and the back of the shirt inspection, I was included on the peg board for game play and immediately we were on court, playing doubles. Sugar introduced me to our opponents as a “newbie”, which I thought was kind of her, as they would definitely give me a few pity shots to have a go at. Again, wrong. After a warm-up of approximately 90 seconds, we went into a full-on game.
These girls were good, Sugar was really good and my double-handed backhand didn’t seem to be working! I do play hockey with Sugar, so I should know how competitive she is but even I was surprised. She was going to win, with or without me, dragging me along for the ride like a bemused child on a “quick shop” around a supermarket. I blinked again and she had almost single-handedly got us to 21 points and thus won the game by a point.
After handshakes, I had time to breathe, realign my new reality and meet the other players. The age range differed greatly but unlike other clubs I’ve visited, the standard was consistently high. Lyndon explained that badminton had varying levels of skill and if you wanted to go along to a club, you should definitely check whether beginners were accepted and what level you’d be playing with.
I was definitely out of my depth and Sugar was off playing on other courts, so I had to get it together, lose the double-handed backhand and focus. I played a further two games, the last one against Sugar. I am pleased to say that in one rally, I relentlessly hit the shuttlecock back, hitting it harder each time and finally wearing her down, I took a point. A treasured point, which went with my other 5 (out of a possible 63). With that scoring potential, I don’t think she will have the nerve to invite me back on a second date anytime soon!
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