To prove it, here’s some (blurry) stop-motion photography of me playing in a recent badminton tournament.
After losing in the first round to the reigning college national champion Desmond Wang, I beat Wei Chiet Thong, Aaron Quan, John Li (pictured herebelow), and finally 13th-ranked singles player in the province Nathan Appave. With 95 players registered for the Alberta Series #4 event at the Derrick Club in Edmonton, it was an exceptionally deep field. Since the tournament over three weeks ago, my aging body still hasn’t recovered completely (groin and shoulder mostly), so it’s pretty clear that I won’t be playing in the season-ending championship in 10 days time even though it’s hosted at my home club,i but it’s also not even clear if I’ll have another competitive crack next season against the ageless, and just generally young, asian sensations.ii There was only one other guy in his 30’s at the Derrick because, like parenting, badminton is a young man’s sport. It’s a lot of grounding and pounding!
Given that we may not have many or even any more such opportunities, let’s take a look at the second-to-last rally of this semi-final singles match against Li. It was about as calculated and controlled as it gets (for yours truly, at least). It lasted only 15 seconds and just 13 shots but an average rally at this level of competition is only 4-5 seconds,iii and late in the second set as this was, this was definitely on the long side:iv
Fuck that was a sweet exclamation point! You’ve no idea how few people can hit that kind of backhand winner. Even my error rate on it is over 35%, probably even over 50% when I’m tired and on my heels. But when you have a 19-9 lead, it’s sooooo much easier.
So go-go-gadget content!v You’d be amazed what people will read, watch, and listen to.
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- There’s also the extenuating circumstance of… well, you’ll see soon enough! [↩]
- Ok, they’re not all azn, but I’m sure as shit the only Jew out there. European descendants are maybe 20% of the field, Africans 1%… [↩]
- The intensity at this level of badminton (open category provincial) is rather impressive, certainly in terms of cardiovascular and alactic anaerobic demands. With maximum heart rates of 186–201 beats/min the norm, average heart rates of 162–187 beats/min are typical over 25-30 minute matches, and 3-5 matches per day for two or three days per tournament, there’s a huge edge in being young, light, and nimble, none of which I am! At least not compared to the prototypical 5’7″ 120 lbs. Asian 19-year-old.
The work-density (the ratio of work-to-rest in a match) in a badminton match is also quite high, being in the order of 0.50. It used to be higher than that at the elite amateur level, and it’s a good 20% higher than that at the professional level, but thankfully the sport switched to more intense rally-point-to-21 games about a decade ago. The old service-point-to-15 games were marathons that demanded another level of fitness. [↩]
- Apologies for the out-of-frame bits! [↩]
- Not much of a writer ? Start a YouTube channel! Not much for the camera ? Start a podcast! Just get your shit out there and keep comparing yourself against the best. [↩]