Next weekend I have my first badminton competition (that I didn’t organize)! Woot! Woot!
Ironically, one of the foreign teachers told me about it, not my badminton friends. He had a local friend who told him of the local “international friends badminton competition.” I immediately wrote to my badminton group and asked if they knew about it. None of them knew it was “international” but several of them had registered. (Which made me a bit mad. Why hadn’t any of them told me?! So, I yelled at them, heh heh.)
It’s only men’s doubles and mixed doubles and I asked my usual partner to play with me. We signed up and then he realized he couldn’t play with me. He had already signed up to play with another girl. (I’m not jealous. *sob*)
So I asked my Taiwanese friend and we’re gonna play next weekend! Jimei, the district I live in, has so many badminton players they are broken up into groups. Because I live in the college, I’m supposed to play with the “yin ting” group. But its the largest group, and competition is the fiercest. Since I’m new to playing with them, and to pad out another group I think, the organizer changed me to the “cen dong” group so we have a better chance of winning.
It’s held at a court in town, owned by a friend of my coach. These courts got destroyed in the typhoon and the owner has spent months repairing them. He just re-opened this weekend. So it will be a place I am not too familiar with, which is nerve-wracking.
I also have no idea how the tournament works. Over Taiwanese sausage and drinks my partner tried to explain to me how the system went. But I was dealing with not only a language barrier but a education barrier. I know NOTHING about how competitions work unless they are the standard bracket style ones like the NBA play-offs. This one isn’t.
He tried his hardest and kept saying, “Ni dong ma?” You understand? I just kept shaking my head. The only bit of information I did get was that the first place winner is the person that never loses. But second and third place winners are based not on winning or losing the games, but on points. So if we lose a game, we aren’t out of the running and still have a chance.
It’s a game run by the government badminton association and cost a mere $1.50 to enter. We get all the court time, shuttles and a shirt included! What a bargain.
I got the schedule and the name of our first opponent. I don’t know them personally but I asked my coach if he did. He said he didn’t, but he knows all the high level players in the district and they weren’t experts so we have a chance. I asked a badminton friend who works in the same school as me and she said she knew them. They are a married couple and probably about the same level as me and my partner. Game on.
A few months ago I was talking to a friend who went to college for sports. We were talking about competitions and how I feel nervous playing just for fun with strangers, so of course a competition would be worse.
“How can I not be nervous during a competition?” I asked him.
“What’s the goal of your first competition?” he asked me.
“To win?” I answered unsure. He shook his head.
“Your first competition is overwhelming. You can see people, watch their skill, see new styles. There will be lots of experienced people who are better than you. The goal of the first competition is to have fun.”
So I’m taking his advice and if we lose, we lose. No biggee. I’m just excited to be taking this next step. And hopefully work towards more competitions and someday even winning them. Wish me luck!
P.S. This competition also has a writing element. While my Chinese writing isn’t up to the same level as my English (I hope, haha) I can’t let an opportunity for writing pass me by. So I wrote a short essay for it. This is it. If you can read Chinese please don’t laugh too much at my Chinese writing.