So, the big competition, the first one my group entered together is over. And……
We had two teams and each had two men’s doubles and one mixed doubles partnership. My team had two mixed doubles teams sign up and I thought we would have to fight it out, but it turns out each team gets to play their game twice, so I played the first mixed doubles game and the other pairing played the second.
Both mixed doubles teams lost. *sad face*
My partner and I just didn’t have the right rhythm and the entire game went by in a blur. Literally. It was a seven minute game, with most rally’s lasting mere seconds. It wasn’t a complete loss on our side. We ended with 12 points (and it was a 21 point game) so if we played a combined total of 33 points in a seven minute game it means each rally lasted 13 seconds. Including the time between rallies.
That’s crazy quick. When we lost the point, we lost it quick, as did our opponents. Many shots, on both sides, went into the net or out within 2 strokes. It wasn’t because we all sucked so bad. This was not a beginners competition and everyone was of a high level for amateurs. I recognized the woman we were playing against. She is from my part of the city and we have played in competitions before. Unfortunately she is really good. (Those watching us said she was better than her male partner, though the game went by so quick, and I was so in my head, I didn’t notice.) Just for some reason every rally finished within 2-3 shots.
As for me personally, I reverted a bit. I was nervous and clung to the net for security leaving my partner out to dry. I had good return of serves, and I didn’t give them many lifts (both of which I had problems with last competition) but I also didn’t help my partner out with defense at all and my net was too passive. I only went for shots that were clearly mine, instead of my usual, more aggressive “hunting” tactics.
Our other mixed doubles team fared a bit better, but also lost (with a closer point difference though). As for the other teams in our group I’m not even sure. I know one of the men’s doubles team won both of their games, but I didn’t watch the other one. It was two older guys who I didn’t recognize at all. Since the semi-pro’s got kicked out at the last minute, my coach had to find two older men and they are not club regulars.
In fact, when I was warming up with Li Ge (my coaches men’s doubles partner) this guy came up to me and asked me where we were sitting. I just looked at him confused. Who the heck was this guy?! He asked me again and I pointed to our area. Later he came up to me and asked who else was on our team. I still had no idea who he was. And I guess he didn’t know anyone either except the “blond foreigner” who stood out and was easy to find. Only when he started playing did I realize he was on my team. Whoops.
There were some good things that happened though. I was surprised by how many friends I had and how many people I knew. Even when I play in my own district, where I know the most people, I only run into acquaintances. But here I ran into people I know from all over the city that I like a lot so I spent time chatting with them. Somehow I’ve been lucky enough to meet, and get along with, really serious badminton players. Also my usual partner Azhi came to cheer us on.
There was a funny moment when my coach was getting ready to play his men’s doubles game. I wasn’t paying attention but someone came over and asked me if I had seen my coaches partner. “Did you check outside?” my teammate answered. “Maybe he’s smoking.” After a few minutes they still didn’t find him because suddenly I hear my coaches voice over the loudspeaker calling for Li Ge.
“Li Ge! Li Ge! Where are you?” my coaches voice boomed over the speakers.
Li Ge then came running out from the bathroom with the entire tournament watching him. Heh heh.
My coach watched my game, but from afar, and after I asked if he was mad.
“Not mad. No problem,” he said with a high five. He had lost his second game and I think he was a little preoccupied with that. But he wasn’t at all mad at me which made me feel a little relieved. I was afraid he was regretting asking me to play. Even in training the next day he didn’t bring it up or reprimand me so I’m in the clear.
Also, I regressed during the competition, but it was just nerves and the next day I went back to playing in my top form. It might sound weird, but that’s progress for me. Previously my nerves would regress me for longer and I’d have a few days of poor playing before bouncing back.
I know I just need more time and more experience with competitions to get over this “choking” thing. When my life is made into a movie, this is the part that will be in the montage and it will go by so quick. But living it is slower, and dealing with competition anxiety is a frustrating process. I’ll get over it with time and experience, I know I will. I just wish it would happen NOW.
Anyway, I made a video of our tournament adventure, so please enjoy! (I made it for my group, but I added English translation to the youtube one.) In the few seconds you can see of my game, you can see my hopping around like an old lady who doesn’t know what she’s doing….sigh….
I really don’t have much time to mope though because tomorrow and the day after is yet ANOTHER tournament. At least this is a individual tournament, and not a team tournament, so I won’t have the pressure of my coach or my team counting on me. In fact, my coach won’t even be there. And it’s on a Tuesday and Wednesday night, which is kinda annoying.
So onward and upwards.