The Daily Life of a Badminton Court

As I’m at the courts so often, I see a lot of stuff that goes on in the daily life of a badminton court and I’d thought I’d share a few pictures.

Life in a Chinese court is different than courts in other places because it is more of a common ground/public rec area than other countries. Courts often have workers who live there (my court has three bedrooms in it including one my coach, or his family, often uses) so to see a toothbrush in the public sink area, or clothes drying out front isn’t uncommon. There is also a small hidden kitchen but no fridge. All the food is kept in the Gatorade cooler.

Neighborhood kids run around in the court before they get chased out. My coach doesn’t mind kids, but he does mind reckless kids running on the courts or throwing old birdies around into courts because it can be dangerous for the players who might fall or smash into the kids. Sometimes when neighborhood people are bored they just come in and watch badminton for awhile before wandering out.

Also, people just come and chat with my coach and drink tea and watch others play. Sometimes friends just show up in the middle of the day, hang out for a bit, and then leave. Nobody ever questions it, no one ever asks “so what are you doing?” It’s just normal life of a court.

Badminton is the one place I put my phone in my bag and ignore it for hours so I don’t take a lot of photos. But over the past several months I have amassed a few that show some moments of non-badminton playing:

One night this big plate-glass window spontaneously burst. Seriously, no one touched it or anything just *kapow!* After the glass guy took the measurements he instructed my coach to remove it. How to remove it? The court employee started to chip away at it slowly with a hammer but my coach said that was too dangerous (it could collapse) so he grabbed a chair and threw it though the window. It was totally bad ass but we were in the middle of training so I didn’t have time to grab my phone to take a pic.

I have no idea how to say “mullet” in Chinese and I know if I translated “Business up front, party in the rear” no one would know what the heck I was talking about. So I silently giggled to myself and took stealth selfies of this amazing mullet which I don’t see often.

Court side chicken feet anyone?!  Yum yum! This person brought enough for everyone and almost everyone, except me, partook.

These little scooter things are popular in China, but not common enough that everyone has one. So when one guy rode it to the court we all had a go at it.

I tried to explain to the guy what his bag meant in my poor chinese. “Guys with no hair. They hate jews and black people. They like Hitler.” “Should I change it,” he asked worried. “I didn’t know the meaning. It’s just a bag.” “I know,” I said laughing. “No one else here knows the meaning, don’t worry.”

My coach has his own store of dishware and china in town, so he has some choice pieces for sale in the courts. You would think that fragile, expensive dishes and a sports club wouldn’t go well together but I see the mad genius in it as some people will grab a 400-700rmb ($75-$100) vase on their way out for a meeting they have the next day.

This poor bird was gifted to my coach months ago and is still living and singing his little heart out. He has a bigger cage now and has a bath too and when I joked the other day that I was gonna open the door to set him free my friend said “go ahead. I think he doesn’t know how to fly anymore.” Poor bird.

Speaking of birds one night my friend asked, “Xiao Bing, you want to see something cool?” and then he reached into a paper bag and pulled out two little baby birds! He’s a bird expert and was nursing these two birds until they were old enough to fly away. I watched him give them some water like a momma bird.

People leave a lot of junk and garbage at the tables and chairs on the side expecting the worker to clean it up. It pisses me off (how hard is it to throw away your bottles of water people?!) but when I saw some gum on the floor I ran over to my coach right away. He wasn’t happy either but the offender was long gone. Instead of cleaning it up, the person just put a piece of paper over it and some other people had stepped on it really mashing it into the nice wooden floor. Grrrrr….

All in the daily life of a badminton court!



  1. Autumn

    Although I expected slightly more salacious stories, I did enjoy hearing about how much the community just hangs out at the court. That’s pretty cool.

    1. Becky (Post author)

      Haha, I know, I would love to have some steamy scandals going on, but the court is covered in cameras (which my coach and his family can monitor from any cell phone anywhere) and badminton people, for the most part, are in committed long-term relationships. Totes lame. 😉


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