So after a 4 week refurbishment the courts we usually play at on Fridays have finally reopened! Yay!
On Friday I was trying to get back from work nice and early, so that I could appreciate the new floor before we started playing. Everything was against me though! Someone asked me a question in the office just as I was on my way out. I just about made it to my train and then my bus was nowhere in sight for the second leg of my journey! I walked half of the way until I spotted a bus and was pretty tired before I’d even got home!
Somehow I managed to get home just in time to get changed and get to the session. I felt a bit off though as my two favourite pairs of leggings were in the wash, so I had to wear some random loose bottoms. That probably sounds weird but I like to wear certain leggings when I play badminton. I had bought my favourite strawberry flavoured water though which made me happy. It’s the small things in life!
We turned up to the courts and were quite happy to see that we had a new shiny floor with vibrant lines and the lights were brighter too! Our games felt like they were suddenly in HD!
As I hadn’t played all week I felt like I was really letting myself down. I was making silly mistakes and not implementing what I had been taught at all. Argh the frustration was unreal! Despite this, my games were a lot more competitive and the scores were much closer. I have no idea how!
There was a high level player there, who used to play with me against my sister in law and my husband a couple of months ago. We used to play one game every Friday and had won three games each when this guy disappeared with an injury! Those were the most competitive games I had participated in, as we had one very strong player on each side and I always had a fire in my belly to beat my husband, even though he’s way better than me!
I was happy to see this guy had returned and was looking forward to our grudge match! However, I hadn’t played all week and was quite weak and he hadn’t played for 2 months so he was out of practice!
During the grudge match my husband kept dropping the shuttlecock near the net and I was getting to it, but I was hitting it straight back, rather than down to the floor with a little flick as I’d been shown. Seriously?! What was wrong with me?!
As I’m tiny, people love to serve high and long to me to catch me out. I’ve got quite used to this so I stand a little further back to prepare myself. As I play with my sister in law so much, I know she serves quite high so I always stand further back to be able to get to it. My husband kept deceiving me though. He was mixing up his serves and catching me out.
Inevitably me and my partner lost our grudge match. I was gutted, but moved on to play with the other people at the Friday club, trying to forget what had just happened.
A little while later, I don’t know what possessed me. I guess I wanted to make up for lost time, so I offered my husband and sister in law another grudge match. What was I doing?! We only ever used to play one each Friday! OK, I just couldn’t accept the loss. I wanted to show my partner how much I’d improved since he’d disappeared!
Can you guess what happened? We lost again! We had caught up with them right at the end and then my partner hit the shot too far and we lost. Gutted doesn’t begin to cover it!
At the end of the session my partner decided to train me to return high serves. He wanted me to not stand too far back so I could get shorter serves too. He wanted me to be able move around the box more efficiently in a few steps so that I can reach serves at the front and the back quickly which is not something I do.
I could sense the tremors of frustration from losing the grudge match driving him to train me. The old me would have felt so awful about this and not bothered even trying to learn from it, but in that moment something changed. I realised that he is a much better player than me and is imparting his knowledge. This can only be good for me! So I swallowed my pride, lifted my racket, bent my knees and got into the ready position.
It was the end of the session. Everyone was packing up to go home. The nets were being dismantled, I was sweating and exhausted but the fire in my belly kept me going. I had to get 3 in a row before I was allowed to go home!
We kept going for what felt like ever! I did get there in the end! He was finally pleased with what I was doing. I was allowed to go home. Phew!
I walked out with my shoulders slumped, feeling utterly disappointed. I was so hungry earlier, now I felt nothing but a hunger to train and improve.
Bring on the next grudge match! My husband is away next Friday so we have to wait two weeks for it. No problem… I will train…
Sometimes losing can be the best lesson.