Preparing for the Team Competition

This week has all been about training and planning for the competition tomorrow. It’s a big competition, and the first one my club is entering (we are entering two teams–one is called the Xiong Feng Attack Team and one is called the Xiong Feng Go-Getters team. I think you can guess which one I’m on.) So we’ve been working towards this competition for about the past two weeks.

But, we’ve run into a lot of problems. After my scare of not being allowed to play, which my coach settled, we had TWO more players who were unceremoniously kicked out. They are level two national players (from the provincial team, not the national team) and as a result were too professional to play.

When my coach told the group, several people were mad.

“But look at the other teams,” said one player sending out the roster list of all the teams. “They also have provincial level teammates. You should tell the organizer so he can kick them out.” (Xiamen is a huge badminton city with semi-pro’s in every corner.)

“That’s not our problem,” answered my coach. “What other teams do isn’t our concern. We just have to follow the rules.” What a class-act, eh? So we had to say goodbye to the semi-pro’s and he found two other guys to replace them.

There was another problem…who would play at the competition? The sign-up allowed 5 men and 2 women to sign up per team for two men’s doubles games and one mixed doubles. So, one team that signed up for mixed doubles can’t play.

The other girl on my team is someone I like a lot and we play well together. She used to be the undisputed best girl in our group but these days I’m giving her a run for her money. (I have speed and strength on her, but she has control and lack of errors on me. I also train regularly and she doesn’t.)

My partner is a younger guy who is both fast and strong. He has an almost un-returnable smash. The guy on the other team is older and slower, but smart. He knows where his opponent will have the hardest time returning a shuttle and he can get it there consistently, clouded in deception making it that much harder.

We are two evenly matched teams, with completely opposite skills, and my coach couldn’t decide who would play. He wanted us to play each other during training to see who was better, but the four of us never trained at the same time. It wasn’t me or my partners fault, we were there a lot. But rather the other guy and girl never came at the same time. They both, on different days, said they would come late and then never showed.

So they never got to play together and they aren’t very familiar with each other. In fact, according to the girl they have only ever played one time before. My partner and I aren’t close buddies, but we play regularly and had a day of training where we played, and beat, several men’s doubles teams. And oh yeah, I got hit in the eye…

I got a birdie smashes at the net right into my eye. It was so fast I didn’t even have time to blink to protect myself. It’s my own dumb fault though, I was too close to the net and should have seen it coming so I have no one but myself to blame. Aside from light sensitivity the next day it didn’t hurt. (And as it only hit my eyeball, I didn’t have a black eye or anything.)

With no showdown to base his decision on, my coach said he would decide the day of the competition who would play. Obviously I’m on pins and needles as I really, really want to play. And he knows it. But I see his dilemma. The thing is me and my partner have potential. If we play to our best, we can not just win, but crush it.

But the other team is less erratic, more seasoned (as individual players so I assume they would be so as a team). They are the more slow and steady type with consistency and a longer track record.

Basically he can trust the other team more, but he has more hope with my team. So it’s gonna come down to his mood on game day. If he’s feeling optimistic, I think he’ll choose us. If he’s feeling worried, he’ll choose the other team.

Finger crossed. Let you know what happens!

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