On warm, Saturday afternoons my dad and I would play badminton together. Although the wind would carry the birdie away from my racket, I still enjoyed playing and laughing when the birdie got stuck in the lowest branches of the nearby tree. There was no sense of time while playing; my mom shouting that it was time for dinner would snap us out of our blissful trance and head inside.
I loved these experiences with badminton, but as a kid, my parents had me join many different sports, including ice skating, swimming, and volleyball. None of those activities ever stuck with me, though. My excitement for these sports faded after a few practices or competitions.
Instead I found myself trying out for the badminton team my freshman year. I liked badminton in P.E. so my friends encouraged me to try out with them. I went to tryouts with no badminton experience except for the recreational kind that I played with my dad.
When I got to tryouts, there were at least 50 other girls, and most seemed more experienced than I was at the time. After tryouts, I learned that I made the freshman team. Shocked and excited, I walked into the gym on the first day of practice and began training for our first game.
It was at that time that I learned many new skills including a clear, which is a high shot towards the back of the opponent’s court; a drop, which lands near the net; and a smash, an attack shot that’s hit downward into the opponent’s court. Unfortunately, before we played our first game, we were forced to an abrupt stop due to Covid-19. During my freshman year, I never had a true team setting.
In 2021, I tried out again, not expecting to make it because I had very little experience due to my last season being cut off. I was thrilled when I saw I made varsity.
Making varsity was the catalyst for my love of badminton. I made new friends and learned the meaning of sportsmanship. The past season had a huge impact on me, both as a player and teammate. I found comfort and support from my team and coach. Although practice was could be difficult, the rewards I reaped like bonding with my teammates and becoming a stronger player made it worth it. Although it took me a while to find the sport I loved, it was all worth it.
Although badminton was not a sport I saw myself getting into, I’m glad I ended up playing.