Thank god my schools summer holiday started a few weeks ago because badminton has ramped up and who has time for work these days?! In the past 8 days I had THREE tournament and I played almost every night. An intense week even for me.
Remember I had played a tournament last Saturday which we lost. I was feeling a bit of heat stroke and it was my birthday so I took Sunday off.
Monday I went and my normal club had a little “Becky badminton” night where lots of people came to play and they got me a special cake. It was super nice and what can I say? I lurve my Chinese name and lurve seeing it on a cake. Thanks guys!
Tuesday it was time to play with a new group I’ve only been playing with for a few weeks. I’ve been looking to play with more women, and this group has them. Women from all over the city come here to play together and even though I just met them I really like all of them. We played a late, sweaty night.
Wednesday was no time to rest as I had to wake up early for training. Originally my coach wanted to meet at 8:45am but when I woke up an hour early and saw a message from him that he was changing it to 10, I fell back into an exhausted stupor for an hour. Playing in the subtropical heat is really taking it out of me. But I powered through training and had a great session. My coach said I had improved a lot and I felt it. I even played some singles games against a guy who was better than me. Previously better than me I should say, because aside from the first game (in which I was getting used to singles as I never play it) I won four straight games. Boo-yah.
Thursday I should have rested but I wanted to train with my normal group. I used to play there almost every night but now with training, and the other group, I have been going less and less. So there weren’t a lot of people that night but I went and won a ton of games so it gave me confidence.
Friday was another competition. This one was in a city called “shishi shi” (not joking–that’s it’s real name 石狮市). It was a friendly competition between my club and the shishi’s courts club. They came to my court last month so this month we went there.
Despite going during the day in the week, we had 25 people and a 6 car parade to get to the city (which was over an hour away). As my coach was deciding the teams he told one guy he was gonna play men’s doubles. “I’d rather play mixed doubles with Xiao Bing,” the guy said pointing at me.
“Xiao Bing is mine!” my coach snapped back.
“Alright. Can’t separate the shifu (master) from the tudi (apprentice),” the other guy said laughing.
I felt very honored. I always thought my coach played with me because no one else wanted to. Like he had to. But actually other people wanted to and my coach insisted on playing with me! Score!
My excitement was short lived as my coach and I sucked and we got into a fight again and lost our game. I just get too freaked out playing with him and I lose my edge. Luckily our team had enough wins and my club beat their club 7-6! We all had a big dinner after to celebrate and got back home at midnight.
Saturday was finally a good day to rest and do laundry. I now sweat through 3-4 shirts a night. It ain’t pretty. Saturday had a big competition in Xiang’an district which my friend (and sometimes partner) Steph joined.
This competition was weird. It had a rule where only one member of the team could be an expert player. Another rule was if you wanted a foreigner on your team (including Hong Kong and Taiwanese people) the foreigner was automatically the expert. Add to that the foreigner was considered a MALE expert.
So of course I didn’t play. What team would choose me over a top male player? None of course. But Steph, Malaysian, is an excellent player and she had a team that asked her to join. But they had to play men’s doubles and of course they didn’t have a chance. It just wasn’t a very fair rule. Anyway, I was gonna go, but it was far away and I’m tired of the heat. (Courts don’t have a/c.) So instead I went out with friends for hotpot that night.
Sunday was yet another competition, this one a friendly one. A guy in my club had to set up a work competition and he asked me to make a team. “It’s my co-workers so their level is just normal,” he said. So I asked my original foreign group if anyone wanted to play. Foreigners are out of the loop in the badminton world and most don’t have a coach or a big Chinese community like I do. So they don’t often get a chance to play in competitions.
So I was American Captain Xiao Bing with her motley crew of Taiwanese, Czech, Filipino and Chinese players. My coach said he had two guys he wanted to play as well as a friend of a friend. So I had 9 people – 3 girls, 6 guys, 5 were my friends and the rest strangers. Obviously we didn’t practice or anything.
One guy from my coaches group was the referee. It was supposed to be two guys, but one of the guys on the opponents team didn’t show up so the other referee stepped in. (Which sucked, cause he was by far the best.) The girls on my team kicked ass, winning the women’s doubles and two mixed doubles. The men didn’t fare so well losing all three men’s doubles games and by the end it was 3-3.
So we added one last mixed doubles which we lost for a 3-4 final team score. Oh well. It was fun, Azhi and I won our game, and I liked being captain even if I didn’t really know what was going on all the time.
So what a week. Obviously Monday I’m taking off but Tuesday I’ll be back at it with daytime training and nighttime playing. I know, I know…obsess much?But hey, what can I say? I’m having fun and there are worse hobbies. 😉