It was a Bad Week for Rackets (WU #7)

Every week I recap how my week in badminton went. I play three days a week: games with my regular group on Tuesday and Thursday and class with my teacher on Wednesdays.

Tuesday was a good day. We had a lot of people sign up for badminton, but only had two courts so there was a lot of waiting time. When I started badminton I used to sit and wait, but now I hate sitting. I see how it freezes up your muscles and I prefer to walk around and stand while waiting.

Right at the end of the night, when I was tired and was sitting down, my friend Dennis came and sat down next to me asking for someone to cover him. He just started playing a game so I assumed he was hurt. But he had a pouty look on his face and held up his racket. He had broken the frame!

He didn’t even know how it happened, he didn’t do any dramatic move or smash the floor or anything. Several people offered their rackets, including his girlfriend, but he was annoyed and sat out. He had just bought the racket in September!

Broken racket

Wednesday lesson was good too, but again, filled with shame on my part. We worked on legwork again, my major weakness, and I was weak as usual. We also began working on the smash: when you hit the birdie as hard and as fast in a downward movement. At least that’s what I think we did. My teacher kept saying “Sa! Sa!” I guessed, based on the movements and the speed which he wanted me to hit it, we were practicing the smash. I do what I call “Baby Becky Smash,” which is a weak sauce little smash. Real smashes can be up to 200mph (332km/h) and you can really hurt someone if you hit their body (or god forbid the eyes, which did happen to someone in our group. It took him 2 days to see again.) But my smashes aren’t gonna hurt anyone, sadly. I just don’t have enough power.

For me to get any real power, I gotta feel a bit angry. My best smashes happen when I’m mad at someone scoring at me, so on the next turn I try to smash it as close to their face as possible, with a nice little “fuck you!” yelled as I hit it down.

So during my lesson, I kept yelling “Sa!” every time I hit it, just to work up a little anger in me. Stupid trick, but those smashes were better than the other ones I didn’t yell. (Post cript, I later found out the actual pronunciation is sha, as in

杀球 which literally translates as “kill the birdie.” It was just my teachers pronunciation, but I like “sa,” so I’ll stick with sa for now.

I also could barely lift my arm by the end of the lesson, it was so damn sore from trying to use so much force.

When class was over, my teacher went to play some games while I stayed by myself and the big box of birdies to practice my serves. Halfway through he came over, took a lighter out of his bag, and started burning the strings of his racket till they broke.

“Laoshi! What are you doing?!” I freaked out. He said one string had broken, and he had to break more to release the tension in the racket. Phew, I thought he had just gone nuts. (That’s the pic of his racket at the top.)

It was pouring, and I had nowhere to go, so I just sat for an hour watching my teacher play game after game with other people (and kick their asses of course).


I’m not the only one who watches my teacher (in the purple). Lots of other people who play in the gym watch his games, and the brave ones challenge him. He has quite a reputation. 

Thursday I wasn’t feeling too tired or sore, or so I thought at the beginning of the games. Because of the damn smash practice my arm very quickly fell apart and was sore as hell. Like, I felt too weak to really grip my racket well and I kept my arm lowered as much as I could. I was able to rally a few times when I played with a stronger partner, but it was pretty miserable overall.

So my arm didn’t survive this week very well, but at least my racket did!


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