Badminton – The Game of Patience

by Esmat

Badminton have taught me many things in life, most importantly – that you have to have the patience to receive the ‘shuttle’.

I remember playing badminton for as long as I can remember, that was before I even started going to school at the age of six. I started playing badminton when I couldn’t hold the racket correctly. I used to shout and scream and yank the racket at the strong concret-cement floor for how I couldn’t hold the racket, and everyone else played the game joyfully.

At a time when I couldn’t hold the racket –  I stood helplessly  by the margins of the court and just watched in awe my siblings and my father playing a game and keeping up with the score and watching how tense and exhilarating it was at the same time. This experience of me standing on the margins tested my patience, I was so furious at myself and my little body for not being able to play badminton. Though, years later I got so good that I won almost every game of badminton that I played with almost anyone, including my siblings and my father.

My siblings and my father knew well how much I got frustrated during the early years of me playing the game, but they never yelled, never stopped me, and of course never yanked their rackets on the ground – by that they all taught me a valuable lesson, that having patience and respect is more important than winning any game. It took me some time to realize that lesson but it is a valuable lesson that I know will come in handy in many aspects of my life. For years, I have had a hard time learning that lesson, especially when losing a match of badminton. I was so emotionally invested in winning that when I lost a game of badminton, my cheeks would turn red, my body would get cold, and I would even cry sometimes. I would not talk to my match opponenet for sometime. Eventually I had to get over to play another match with him/her. During these moment of me running wild and crying and stomping my foot on the ground, my father, would come over from the other side of the net, and would hug me and calm me down and would explain that, nobody wins every time and that losing is not bad. Every single time, when I had an episode of losing a match, he would explain that.

Badminton is no less of a tradition in my family. It is a very precious and yet very treasured one too. Moments are born when this game is played. Important talks are sometimes discussed in the midst of a fast-paced match. And laughs are heard all over the court.

Badminton started merely as an experiment when my father was bored in his office, and was thinking of doing something fun with his co-workers. Little did he know, that this sport in the next few years would tie many years with many memories created by playing this game. He along with several of his colleagues went to university campuses to play the sport in the afternoons, but after a while, people got annoying and they had to play in house. They bought a net, a few wooden rackets (that were three times as heavy as the ones I use now, made from carbon), a box of shuttles. And so started the years of tradition in my family.

When my father started playing badminton, he used those shuttles that were made of feathers, which were worn down to only few feathers after two or three games. Years later, now I use a plastic shuttle that lasts around one to two weeks, depending on how much I play and how much forcefully I hit the shuttle, which is a lot.

Kabul has the perfect weather around March and April, which is also the perfect time to play badminton, so I have come to reminisce about my early days of playing this sport these days.

Each time I hit the shuttle with my racket, my patience is kind of tested in a small yet very significant way  – I have to wait to hit the shuttle at the perfect time otherwise I would either miss it or I would hit at the wrong angle causing a score to my opponent’s benefit.