It’s been like 20 or so years ago when I last played badminton competitively. It was over 30 years ago when I accompanied my then-girlfriend to a badminton club she was joining. It was her first time, and she didn’t want to go all by herself, so I joined her, just to give her some company.
The next day, I lined up at Van Dijk Racketsports in The Hague to buy myself badminton gear.
I knew badminton as a camping activity, but what I saw here hooked me. The club she joined had a team that played at the highest national level, and they were playing men’s doubles. By Jove, this is a fast sport… if you think squash is fast, watch this.
I ended up playing on a fairly decent level for a couple years. Three evenings of training, and the matches in the weekends – I couldn’t get enough. I always liked men’s doubles most. In singles matches, I could sort of get by because I never gave up, but men’s doubles called on my reflexes, which gave me the greatest thrill.
Then I moved to another town, and played a few years at another club, somewhere around 1994.
Then I moved again (to Cothen), and played for half a year there, until an injury stopped me. I then turned to air rifle shooting, and then to grandparenting.
So, last week I read an article in a local rag about an invitation tournament organised by BBS, a badminton club in Bodegraven (10 minutes from where we now live).
So, I went there yesterday.
This is what I learnt:
- You DO unlearn badminton. I still got da moves, but da timing is completely, totally, utterly shot. If I would’ve counted the number of times my impressive smash move created a nice whooshing sound, leaving the shuttlecock to limply drop on the ground next to my feet, I would’ve needed depression medication.
- My physical condition is laughable.
- My promise to myself that I would ‘take it easy’ went out the window… I ended up giving it all I had. Which wasn’t enough.
Thus, we advance to…
- To get to my desk at work, I have to negotiate three stairs. I have never been more acutely aware of this than I was today. I am being slowly killed by muscular pain – and it’s not even the second (worst) day yet. There are also too many stairways in our home. I can’t even sit down on the loo without pain.
- I still like this game a lot, so yes, this is going to be a weekly recurring activity.
In all fairness, I did better than I expected – I played 5 short matches in quick succession (all in all about 90 minutes) and I didn’t die. After recovering for 15 minutes, I even managed to get another recreational game in. Not that I won anything, but I had huge fun!
So… BBS Bodegraven, here I come.