Most of the people I play with are cool and we are used to each other. But I go everyday, and end up playing with lots of new people every week. Sometimes we become regular buddies and sometimes I never see them again.
But the thing that really bothers me is when I have to play with a stupid f&#%$$ partner. Often I’m the lone woman in a doubles games of all guys. The woman will be “weaker” even if her level is better. Her default position is the front of the court while the guy handles the rear.
So it sets up a position in which the girl is easily bullied and this is where the stupid f&#%^$$ partner comes in. There are typically three types
The Player Below My Level Who Criticizes My Every Hit
Thus drives me nuuuuuutsss. When I’m clearly better but they try to coach me when I miss a birdie. “You didn’t move fast enough.” “Your hand was too low.” “Don’t use so much power.” Meanwhile, they mess up almost every shot even very basic ones.
This one I try to be nice, but I just kinda grumpily smile and nod. I mean, I’m not “too good” to ignore others advice. In fact, I like having others, besides my coach, tell me what to do. They really help! At one point I listened to anything anyone told me, and followed it.
But I’m smarter now and I know a little bit of what is going on. I listen to advice from people who truly know how to play and even then I get competing advice. So I really don’t need some lower intermediate level player telling me what to do and messing with my head. So I ignore them and if they persist, I avoid playing with them.
The Player Who Wants To Keep the Woman Upfront
Now this is a bit tricky because this is based on level. Most intermediate level players, the woman stays locked to the front, no matter what. But high level means the woman takes an active role in defense and regularly goes to the middle of one of the sides, and sometimes the rear.
I prefer that, it’s how the professionals play, and it’s how my coach is training me. But if they guy isn’t used to that then he’ll criticize the girl and continue to say “stay in the front, stay in the front,” even though it’s not always right. They want the back clear to run around and not have to worry about me. I used to just shut up and do it, even if I knew it wasn’t right, but I didn’t have the confidence or skill to know where I should be.
But now, fuck that! I’m better and I know where I’m supposed to go. If I hit it high and to the rear of the court, the odds are my opponent will smash it and no matter how good my partner both of us need to prepare to return it.
So when a guy says “don’t go back, stay in the front,” I yell at them.
“I have to! I have to prepare to return a smash.”
“I can get it,” the real assholes say.
They can’t. No one can and the fact they think they can shows how deluded they are. They just need to up their game and learn how to play with a more equal woman. I’m done with catering to them. If I don’t practice the higher level strategy, I won’t get better. These guys think they are sooooooo good (they think they can get any shot in the back no matter what) it drives me crazy.
Speaking of smashes….
The Condescending Players
I hate when guys won’t smash when they play mixed doubles. They think it’s noble and gentleman-y to not smash on a woman because we have a hard time returning it or it could hit us and hurt us.
Fuck that shit! I find it so condescending and disrespectful to women, saying they aren’t equals, that they can’t handle a fast birdie. The thing is, male players that play like this usually aren’t that great and actually returning their smashes isn’t that hard.
High level players play the game. (Of course they are not gonna smash on a newbie, but when a woman is a mid to high level, smashing on her is fine.) So I find it incredibly condescending of middle level players to take control of the game and act all “noble” for the woman. Also, how is someone supposed to improve if they can’t practice during game play?
So I’ve started calling this out when I see it. “Why are you not smashing?” or I’ll specifically give them a smash opportunity and yell out “Smash!” and if they don’t I immediately confront them. I have to continually bully them until they finally relent and start smashing. I think a lot of women in China aren’t too outspoken about this, so its a little fight I have to fight even if I make enemies.
How about you? Ever have a partner that just drove you crazy? Tell me about them in the comments so I know I’m not just being a super bitch about this. 😉
Oh, this is male privilege, just like off the court. They think they know best, they interrupt,they don’t listen, because of course you are only a woman and what could you possibly know? And of course they are better, anything else in unthinkable.
I dunno how you don’t smash them — in the face, with your racquet.
I know, and with the whole “not my culture” thing I don’t know how much of it is just male privileged and how much of it is a culture difference. Regardless, I just ain’t havin’ it.
I can relate. I’m a beginner to low intermediate and there’s one person who I despise playing with in this social club I’m in. He takes games really seriously and critiques me a lot if I’m unaware of whether I’m serving and where the bird is for example. It’s a social club, and he’s not my coach, but he acts like a toxic coach. We’re one of the only asians in the club so I feel like he feels ‘responsible’ for me somehow… if that makes sense. I look quite young too although I’m an adult… so that might be why he thinks he can talk in such a condescending way. I shouldn’t let it get to me but it really affects my mood and thus my performance. Ironically, I play way better when I’m not playing with him.
I know, it makes me angry too that I can’t rise above their attitude and just ignore it, but it’s really annoying!!