Before today I had always thought badminton was something for the established people, a wonderful pass time activity combining physical exertions with friendly competition. But before today, I have never been exposed to badminton in China (or even badminton en general).
People in China take their small balls very seriously, I am talking about the “ping pong balls”, “badminton balls”, and “billiards balls”. I played badminton for the first time today, and it was one of the most intense physical activities I have experience so far, probably because I played for 4 hours straight, struck every shot like I was hacking wood for a fire, and moved around like a fencer and not so much a “badminton player”.
I am still amazed at the quickness that these “older male players” have when they strike the ball and recover volleys. The only person from Walnut, who I know of, that plays badminton like a boss is my friend Jackie Ko, who is an absolute beast in terms of badminton. But Chinese badminton players take the word “intensity” to a whole new level, I have never seen people get so riled up and excited about badminton, come on, of all things to get excited about, one would not normally think of badminton as the first option.
The intensity of badminton and its players really drew me to the sport, and I am really liking it. The cardiovascular endurance and the gentle wrist strikes so intrinsic to the sport of badminton, makes it much more artistic and at the same time more challenging than most sports, which generally places more emphasis on brute physical talent and athleticism. By the stroke of simple good fortune, my father apparently is great friends with the Chinese National Badminton Team’s head coach and general manager. Though they typically work more with managing the players and team and less with coaching, both were former players themselves on the team back in the 1980s, and my father agreed to introduce me to them to learn some basics when I visit Beijing in two weeks before finally heading to the Shaolin Temple for my year long training.
I really learned to appreciate new things with this new introduction to badminton, really glad I met this sport before I became too old to play it 🙂