Badminton was a sport I had not heard about until primary school. A classmate’s brother was extremely fond of a certain Prakash Padukone, the 1980 All-England Badminton Champion. I wondered how the sport was played and my answer was revealed when I saw the 1988 Seoul Olympics on TV. The pace of the game took my breath away but I was thoroughly fascinated.
In 1991, we moved from Kochi to neighboring Kottayam and it was there that I first experienced playing the sport. We lived in a rented house for a few years and there was a small shop adjacent to the place we were staying. The top floor of the shop was under construction and there was plenty of space there. It was also a time when my father stopped smoking completely, much to our relief. It was he who suggested that we play badminton every morning using the top floor of the shop as our court. That was how I started playing badminton. My father, my younger brother and I engaged in some thrilling stuff over the course of the next few months. My brother was too good for me but we used to regularly get the better of our father. For reasons I can’t recollect right now, the play sessions stopped. It did pick up again when we moved to our own home a few kilometers away. This time however, my playmates were our neighbors. It was fun as we used the short compound wall between the houses as the net! Needless to say, badminton had caught my imagination well and truly. Rexy Mainaky and Ricky Subagja, the Indonesian doubles stalwarts were my favorites those days!
The fever caught up when I went to my native place during the summer holidays as well. Cricket was the preferred sport there but on days when it rained, we used to play badminton on the car porch of my grandfather’s home. My cousins all played really well, so I had to be on the losing side several times. But what mattered to me most was the sheer adrenaline flow when playing those games.
Over time, as I grew out of my teenage years, playing badminton stopped. But I never stopped following the game. I was extremely happy when Pullela Gopichand, Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu all scaled heights in the sport. Deep inside, I had harbored a desire to play badminton again. So when my elder son said the other day that his grandfather had bought him a racquet and a set of shuttlecocks, I was pretty excited. After nearly two decades, it felt really good to play with my 7-year old son. And boy, he was excited too. That made me all the more happy!
Written as part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge – http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/