What could be so difficult with badminton when all you had to do is hit that shuttlecock with skinny and light racket? And what can be so tough keeping your stamina soaring when you have been a fitness instructor for more than 22 years? Nothing! Right? Allow me to share few moments spent Friday morning with The Filipino badminton Committee that completely changed my views and impressions of what badminton is all about.
I arrived at the Kuwait Disabled Club in the morning and found a gym full of people cheering for their basketball teams and half of that court was five badminton spaces fully packed with players clad in apple green shirts that displayed the sport organization’s name.
Not for long I was asked to register my name as a so called “newbie” and given a shirt to wear. To warm-up, volunteers came forward to teach me how to handle the racket properly, showed the body movements required to maximize effective hits and bring that shuttlecock over the other side of the net effectively. The volunteers monitored each of my moves and critically suggested what are essential and necessary for a good game.
Mind you, I was starting to rattle almost similar to cramming up for a quiz or an exam in few minutes, praying and hoping I remembered them all. It took me 15 minutes to sweat all over and gasping for breath. I took few seconds break and memoirs of the very first time I jumped into my aerobics class with room full of clients screaming while executing routines and all I did was watched in amazement. It was disheartening when you weighed 185 pounds and with whooping thirty eight and half inches and surrounded by women with kids yet physically fit boasting with six pack abdomens. I just wanted to turn around and grab a stick of cigarette to appease my shattered ego. It took a while, before I could return to the place and took up the challenge. The news of death of a friend was much to take yet the cause persuaded me to change my life forever.
Now with 22 years of inexhaustible experience and international certifications in fitness again I am confronted with same nightmare in front of me was a net and two opponents and a partner who I knew for few minutes. “You are an advantage, because you are a fitness instructor and with proper way to handle the racket and dance moves, you will make it” such comment kept echoing in my ears. Armed with confidence and fitness experience I had my first serve and it went on endless. The shuttlecock was all over me and felt like my racket had no net that it kept going through. There were moments I just stared at it as it approached me hesitant whether my partner will strike it or me, until I realized it was my hit.
It was revolting and disappointing at start and slowly as I made my served, I was more confident, aware of my moves, the right timing to hit the shuttlecock and the proper way to breathe to keep that energy soaring. When one gets into the game, you suddenly realize your world shuts down and all you can see are your opponents, that barrier between you and them and coordination of movements with your sport partner. No matter how loud were the screams around you or that Zumab music playing on air, all that disappeared and what was there were me, my racket, shuttlecock and the court players.
I might have lost the game but it changed the way I looked at badminton. Badminton is a symphony of movements between arms, body and feet, coordination between beats and rhythm to create a perfect timing, a parallelism between a well executed cardio routine and badminton smash! I might have lost my first match but you know what, I will come back with a vengeance, my story does not end here. See you next Friday! Oh by the way, FBC can you please find me a worst than a beginner match next week?
By Ricky Laxa