Last February, I embarked on a new endeavor which became the very reason why Stories of the Wandering Feet became inactive for four months. I am talking about my participation—for the first time—as one of the competitors in Company A’s Badminton Tournament 2013 (Doubles) that ran for the whole of said month. (This single-elimination tournament comprised 24 teams rising from Company A’s Head Office.)
I never knew such travail will devour my focus and almost all my free time. I tried to drop one post on several occasions during that period but doing so just dipped me more into Catch-22. Until, I realized I am not a metahuman who can excel both in blogging and competing. I chose the latter.
Before the first day (February 2) of the tournament, my partner, Mark Arnais, and I did train a lot to ensure our chances in making it to the semifinals—the very first goal. The four consecutive weekends, not to mention the every millisecond before bedtime, of January were all spent in the four corners of the court. You could picture us working our asses off like there is no tomorrow.
Mark’s experience and skills in this sport mired me that I always thought I am the one who has a lot to catch up to the goal’s physical and mental demands. Hence, my determination.
Fortunately, we were able to secure a spot in the semifinals (also called Super Six). We then had to redefine our goal. We thought it will not be too much to desire for the championship. We needed to magnify that determination. Therefore, I married my racket, with the badminton court as my “legal” strumpet. The partner did the same. We were that steadfast.
Our ship did not sail smoothly in this round though as we were already faced with more powerful opponents. We experienced, for the first time, the pungency of losing, not to mention getting a very low score (21/8). This tremendously derailed our confidence. We even thought we can no longer land in the next round (also called Final 4) but the minuscule chance pullulated.
Soon, we, again, made it to the Final 4 (i.e., Top 2 in accordance with the score-based ranking). The chance to seize the coveted championship loomed. We were almost there.
Our most important game—against Top 3—took place on February 26. Top 1 and Top 4 were also lined up for the same on that day. From these two matches, whoever have emerged victorious fight for the championship. On the other hand, the losers shall go after 3rd place. Both of which were slated for the following day.
Needless to say, we did our best to win the game but the odds did not favor us (Score: 21/17). The loss made me feel ineffably frustrated. It was so painful but I had to savor the jump smash of failure so I can easily detach from it. After an hour, optimism purged out that feeling.
Later on, I was again filled with enthusiasm…for the 3rd place, which is not at all a bad catch for the odd man out…if ever. My partner has already joined various tournaments, if not played this sport since the British India times, in the Philippines as well as the rest of the competing teams at that point. I almost forgot that I had all the reasons to be proud in spite of everything to the contrary.
Before we stepped on the court for our final battle on February 27, I noticed the trophies driving the table opposite the court. I was mesmerized by their striking luster especially the one for 3rd place. I zoomed off right away to the table and held it close to my heart. I earnestly vowed that I will bring it home no matter what. My determination was intensified by the fact that the 4th placers shall have nothing but medals.
The decisive match was played through best of three sets. The first set (Score: 15/8) was ours while the second (Score: 15/13) was won by the opposing pair. The honor of the third set (Score: 15/9) glided to our blazing rackets. All I know after that was I was silently shouting for joy. The trophy was finally ours!
The awards ceremony was held a few minutes after our match. While I was standing in front of the crowd, I suddenly remembered my humble beginnings. I was already happy and satisfied if I was able to correctly execute net kill and smash in every game.
It was during the moment I am holding my trophy that I saw what the tournament has really taught me other than net killing and smashing: being a team player. I learned to set aside my-way-or-the-highway attitude; to succumb to my partner’s strategies because he is, after all, the better player; to persistently practice amid the discouraging circumstances; to assertively listen to the audience’s (i.e., friends like Leonel Mark Tuscano) critiques; and, above all, to believe that your partner is giving his 50% contribution to every game. The byproduct of being a team player is what brought us to the higher level of the tournament.
Winning 3rd place in the tournament is one of my proudest moments. Not just the part of playing the game, but because of the journey to get there.
Photo Credit: Adonis Escoto
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