Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Badminton – Up Close and Personal

“Jessica. You. Me. Badminton. Today.”


Today, I didn’t have any classes due to midterm exams (Yay!), so I sat, unmoving like a statue, in my seat, at my desk, writing up new and exciting lesson plans (Yay?). The exams were to finish after lunch, and students and teachers were allowed to leave soon after. I was eager to do some more productive work with the many comforts at home.

One-hour before lunch, I was approached by the Principal. It was scary, because he seemed to float, unnoticed, over to my corner desk and abruptly said, “Jessica. You. Me. Badminton. Today.”

“What time?” I innocently asked.

“2:15. I’m going to teach you some new badminton skills.”

Well, I thought, I might as well if I’m going to get some free lessons…(plus the fact that he was making me shrink in my chair as he was standing over me). “I need to get my running shoes,” I said.

“You can play in those shoes,” he replied, pointing to my high-heeled dress shoes.

Young-hee (my co-teacher) looked over at me from her desk. “She can’t possibly play in those shoes. She could hurt herself.”

“Okay, fine,” the Principal regressed. “Go and get your shoes after lunch.”


At home, I quickly pulled my hair back, put on my jogging pants, and pulled over me my Xtra-Large EPIK polo (they didn’t have any smaller sizes left). I looked much like a sky-blue hot-air balloon, attached to a thick black rope.

I pulled on my running shoes and headed back towards the gymnasium.

When I entered, there were two other teachers there, plus the Principal. They were gingerly playing a match, showing off years of badminton skills. They all spotted me and called me over to the court. I was partnered with the male teacher. “Ready?” the Principal called.

“Sure!” (I had to be enthusiastic about this… Clearly, the Principal merely wanted to play against me, rather than teach me). I grabbed a racquet and one of the teachers served me a birdie. A perfect toss in the air…I planned to smash it. I swung and snapped my wrist down to smash...what a nice shot. I lifted my racquet to prep for a return, when I saw the head of it completely bent back. What are these school racquets made of again?

We played four doubles matches, altogether lasting about two and a half hours. Not all of it was dedicated to playing, however. Half-an-hour was filled with the Principal and the two teachers squabbling over boundaries, serves, etc.

At the end of the last game, one of the teachers opened up a box, and handed me snacks and drinks. “Thank-you,” he said. “If you had initially said no to the Principal, we wouldn’t have been able to find another fourth player. None of the other female teachers ever want to play.”

Oh Principal…you are ever so sneaky…

- Jess

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