Tuesday, November 6, 2012

P.O.V. Final

Gray clouds mixed with smog from the nearby factories filled the sky, creating a dense shield that completely hid the sun. It was noon, but there was still a tinge of morning fog that left the atmosphere feeling slightly damp and chilly. An old building stood at the other end of the parking lot; pale with a craggy roof and in desperate need of a new paint job. I followed behind my dad and entered it without a single wonder or thought of what could be inside. The moment we stepped inside however, stifling air combined with the stench of sweat hit my senses, causing me to gag and cough. Thankfully enough, as we turned a corner there were numerous screeching noises that caused me to forget about the bad odor; they were the sound of shoes racing up and down the courts. I was both surprised and amazed when I saw them, but most of all I was completely captivated by the actions and movements of the players. People on both sides of the court stepped, dashed, and sprinted to reach the small, white object that either floated or shot through the air, depending on how the players returned it.

Taking my eyes off them for a moment though, I noticed that the room was unusually dim. Looking up, I discovered that the lights hanging from the ceiling were all switched off, and the only form of brightness came from through the windows outside. The entire place was lined with several rows of badminton courts and a small amount of old gym equipment which had been moved to the side. The wooden floorboards were streaked with black markings from shoes and objects that had been dragged across, as well as marked with straight, precise white lines to create the courts.

I went back to watching the other players for a short while until three black haired men arrived and approached my dad. They were all his co-workers and coincidentally, every single one of them (including my dad) were wearing obnoxiously colored shirts. While my dad wore a liquor black shirt, another friend wore a bright yellow while one other wore a sky blue. I think the last one had a cherry red shirt, and when they all stood together they looked like a pack of crayons!

Reminding myself to tell him later, I plopped myself down on one of the benches behind our court and watched as my dad and his friends began their game. Right away, the game became intense as the two teams tried their hardest to seek the other team’s weakness and strengths.

I watched in amazement as the shuttle cut through the air, appearing as a speedy white blur. It flew across the net over and over, and each time it was repelled by their sleek, shiny rackets when it reached the other side. It flew high and ducked low, tumbling, turning, and changed directions so often that I normally found myself looking at the complete opposite way by the time it was sent to the opposing team. There were many interesting and new moves that I had never seen before; there was one I especially took notice of. Occasionally, the shuttle would tilt down and rush to one of the sides with speeds that surpassed that of a car on the highway. The shuttle would slice through the air, a white bullet headed straight for the ground on the other side. To my amazement, there were a few miraculous saves; once a person even dived into the floor, barely catching it on his racket. It was at that moment that I was absolutely sure that I wanted to learn badminton.

I started learning how to play badminton when I was seven after seeing my dad play, and ever since then it’s become my main sport. It’s a fun sport that forces you to move, and you need good hand-eye coordination, and control. We started in our cramped apartment in China where we played in the hallway. We used rackets too and the shuttle used to smash against all the walls, ceilings, floors, and furniture. It drove my mom completely crazy but I had a fun time watching her wince and cringe. The cool thing was that if we aimed well enough, we could sometimes hit the light switches and turn off everything in the room, or even switch on the TV! After that, my dad took us to real courts and soon enough I began training so I could learn to play without damaging anything.

Ironically though, some time after I started training, badminton became less appealing and more of a chore than I could ever imagine. I don’t do well with long term routines and the continuous pattern started to bore me. But it’s helped as well, since I can actually hit the shuttle now instead of my leg or arm, and I’ve even participated in a few competitions (I usually lose in the second round) without completely making a fool of myself! Unfortunately I’m also stuck with this sport until I win three gold medals, as my dad stated. The reason he said this is because he knows that I’ll never win three GOLD medals, and if I did, I would have been playing for so long to get to that stage that there would be absolutely no point in quitting. A good thing though is that I’ve still maintained the love for the sport itself; it’s just the training that kills me every weekend.

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