We’ll take a break from the reviews today to mention one of the best descriptions of badminton I’ve seen in a while. The Chicagoland Badminton group linked to this column by Robert Crampton at the Times Online in England, where they take their badminton pretty seriously. In his essay on getting older he talks about giving up the sport of football (soccer over here) and taking up other pastimes, including badminton:
“And the other factor, cause and effect of feeling ancient, is I’ve taken up badminton. I say taken up, I’ve played it three weeks running, does that count as taken up? Counts enough for a column, that’s for sure.
Very silly word, badminton, I can’t write it, let alone say it, without squirming. Badders is even worse. Still, it’s a good game, although disorientating. Either it happens in slow motion, Chariots of Fire, Nigel Havers running along a beach, or speeded up, Benny Hill being chased through a maze by women in their underwear. There doesn’t seem to be any normal time in between. It’s also one of those games, like croquet or chess, that you think are genteel then turn out to be total bloodsports. The most effective shot in badminton, I am learning, is the smash straight into the other guy’s face.
I feel as if mind and body have been dipped in treacle. Or cannabis. Oh look, a feathered white object is coming in my direction. Absorb information. Ah-ha, better do something about it. Calculate flight path. Issue instructions to legs. Legs initiate one, two, three lumbering strides… Oh dear, feathered white object hits floor six feet away. Point to the opposition.”
As a coach, I can see my beginners experiencing the same disorientation Crampton does.