Even before a game starts, there is most likely an agreed venue already for the after-game dinner. Unmindful of having to wake up early for work the following day, we stay up late in court and proceed to have dinner with friends until the break of dawn. Some group would even hit it to the KTV bars for videoke stints.
Badminton has revolved into both a serious sport and gimmick alternative rolled into one hitting action. It has transcended from just being a physical activity for the health-conscious to becoming a clinic for mental growth as well. We meet all sorts of people in court every time we play. If Mitch Albom says we meet five people in heaven, I look around in court and I say we meet five groups of people in badminton:
Acquaintances are usually limited to hi’s and hello’s. There might be a quizzical stare in trying to dig in your subconscious where you’ve seen the familiar face before, or if there occurred previous casual introductions. Acquaintances play around the comforts of civil nods and half-smiles, and sometimes awkward silences. They elicit some discomforts during long waits in queue. One feels itchy to play again than be stuck with small and boring exchanges of one-liners. One good sign of this is the lack of eye contacts or staring at the exchange of shuttlecock hits while the other person is trying to make conversation.
The filler is someone you remember when you lack quorum in a game, or someone who will make the court fee less expensive for the group. You get to play with him often in court but you probably don’t know how many siblings he has or where exactly he lives. The topics of conversation may be limited to badminton, and the laughters confined within the boundaries of the court. The connection is raw and undefined. The communication may fail both of you at one point and you would just wonder one day what happened to that person you used to play with.
Badminton buddies are actually your inner circle. When a game ends and the players break up to their homes, the buddies would stick around longer for dinner or hangout for coffee. Buddies are marked by easiness, comfort and trust to a high degree. The communication exceeds badminton, and move on to more personal matters. When asked who your badminton friends are, your buddy’s name would naturally come up in the list. Sentimental factors set in. He is missed when not seen in a long time.
The Love Interest
This person may be the reason your eyes are stuck permanently in that court next to yours. The move, the shots, the looks, the get-up, just everything about this person causes your world to stop temporarily and stare with full interest and wanting. If you’re lucky enough there just might be total connection and the love interest would eventually be your romantic partner. Badminton becomes doubly fun.
Of course, there will always be water and oil that just do not mix. The mere sight is irritating and downright repulsive. He may strike you as goading or his stance an ostentatious display. His presence will get you heated on a cold day. He may cause distractions to your game, or he may just push you above your playing level!
It doesn't matter who you meet in court in every game. It’s just fascinating to note that the court becomes a social arena as well where different levels of interaction exist simultaneously. The next time you get bored from waiting for your turn in queue, look around you and identify your own five people. You’ll realize that the court teems and bustles with players of varied personalities. And as they say, birds of the same feather will flock together. They make the life of badminton, and life in general, more colorful.