I bragged about how my coach gave me his keys, but I didn’t think I’d actually have to work there. I mean, who in their right mind would want a foreigner, with a weak grasp of the language and no technical skills, to be in charge of the whole place during normal working hours?!
He gave me the keys during Spring festival, basically like Christmas break only because he was going out of town. Almost everyone was busy with stuff and I had the key in case someone NEEDED to play (or needed to go in to get something). I used the courts myself, for training with my two other coaches, but there was no actual customers during that time.
But last thursday, my coach totally tricked me. After he casually asked me if I was free Saturday I said I was. “You wanna have training?” I asked all eager.
“No. I’m busy. I want you to open the place. Can you? Around 9:30 in the morning?”
Walked right into that one.
My working hours were 9:30am till “evening.” When pressed all I got was a “6? 7?” vague style answer.
Gulp. Luckily Badminton Becky ain’t no dummy and I showed up Saturday morning with the key, and my Taiwanese friend Azhi. (You may remember him as my doubles partner from the competition a few months ago.)
I might not be a native speaker but I’m smart enough to bring someone who was!
And thank god I did. While even knowing less about the courts than I did, Azhi picked everything up quickly and handled some of the stuff better than me. Sure, I knew where the lights were and how much a bottle of Gatorade cost, but when the first customer tried to pay with a groupon, I had no clue what to do. Luckily Azhi took control.
So how was it?
The low point was when a 5-year-old kid ran into my coaches office and came out wielding a fruit knife. He was karate chopping the air with it and started to stab the floor before his sister was able to disarm him.
The same kid also kicked the bird’s cage, lifted and dropped the birds cage, and tried to kick it again. All over about an hour’s time. Azhi and I were trying to watch a badminton game online but after the knife incident we went into full-time babysitter mode.
But besides that things went pretty well. It was mostly customers I didn’t know, as I tend to not go during the daytime, but everyone had a good time and we kept them supplied in bottles of water and birdies.
One acquaintance came and before he took off he went out and got us lunch!
“Stick with boss Becky and you get free lunch,” I winked at Azhi as we slurped up our noodles.
A few people even came just to hang out. Remember my friend Xiao He? The guy who introduced me to my coach? He tore his Achilles, had surgery and went to live with his parents for three months while he recovered. He just got back to Xiamen and he came to see me. We even hit a birdie back and forth and while he isn’t allowed to jump or make quick movements, he hasn’t lost any of his arm speed and he got more than a few shots off me. Show-off.
So maybe it was slightly crazy for my coach to trust a foreigner with his courts, it somehow worked. I didn’t burn down the place or lose all the money. Yay me!
Now I just hope he finds another worker fast!