about the talking fish

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Writer. Wheelman. Occasional DIY mechanic. Walking collection of hang-ups. Hopeless romantic. Old-school. Analog soul in a digital world. I am all of these things and more.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Alive again

I don’t remember why I decided not to return to Villamor Air Base and the Philippine Air Force Badminton Club for a year. The only explanation I can fudge up is it’s got something to do with school work.

The past couple of weeks were instrumental in reminding me why I love badminton so much. True, I was frustrated with shattering my old racket’s head, not being able to move as quickly on the court as I should and having every one of my smashes fail horribly. But that was there to remind me of the ongoing effort I have to keep in order to play well. Like Tina Aboitiz-Juan said, you do not engage in a sport to keep fit; first you have to be fit to engage in a sport.

The fruits of my labor, exhaustion, self-loathing and frustration fell off the tree this week. Today I played my best badminton ever since I left. Sweaty, tired, hot and high on adrenalin, a primal exhilaration welled up in my heart, the same do-or-die derring-do that would usually require me to expend fuel and harrass other drivers or pick a fistfight. Blood pumping through my legs, nerves on the alert, tension in my arm and wrist. To my pleasant surprise, the more tired and exhausted I got, the faster I ran, the quicker I reacted, the more efficient I was in placing the shuttlecock and the more lethal I was in smashing.

Why on earth did I ever give this up?

The good news is, ever since I left Villamor, things have actually gotten better. The referees’ high chairs now have better equipment to help keep better track of serving sides and serving players—more important in badminton than anywhere else, as only those who serve can score. Gone are the courts of rubber-painted cement, which ate up my old shoes in left-foot drags, caused tremendous ankle shocks on landings and movements, and gave me cuts and scrapes on my knees whenever I went for my signature last-ditch returns. Now, more forgiving Taraflex means that when I crash and burn on the court, I get only bruises.

Best of all, I still pay peanuts for all this and the chance to play against some of the best players around.

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