My 1st Badminton Tournament

“Clear your mind of can’t.” – Samuel Johnson

My wife and I started playing this racket sport almost four years ago. On day one we already got hooked. Just like any other person we knew, we started just for the fun of it and with the hope of shedding some pounds. As we went along, we met others who also had the same interest. Slowly we got more eager to learn the badminton game and rules and so the number of sessions got more frequent and intense than before. We became “baddicts” in no time. The thought of being matched and compete with someone eventually pushed me to test myself.

March 24. Summer. Hot and humid. My much-awaited day, my first badminton tournament. With great anticipation, energy and excitement, I woke up early, packed my stuffs and had a full breakfast of coffee and oatmeal.

By 8 a.m.  I was already at Racquettaz Badminton Club—a 15-minute drive from home. The place was already bustling with activity when I arrived. Organizers paced back and forth to make sure that everything is in order. Other players were busy checking their match schedules while the rest warmed up and did shadow lunges, smashes and footwork exercises. Almost everyone was so eager to get it on.

After a short opening remark, invocation and a pledge to sportsmanship, the Intel-Analog dual meet commenced. All of the venue’s seven courts were soon filled with players, umpires and supporters from both sides.

Since it was my first time to be in a match, I was classified as a level C player. I would play mix doubles with Joan whom I met and played with just a couple of days ago but I already got high hopes that we’d do well. And we did.

We had five scheduled matches. Once we got called for the first match, I was half-eager half-nervous as I approached court number four. The first few rallies were like getting-to-know my partner and our opponent. After a couple of scores, I was beaming with confidence. Our winning streak went on until the end of the fourth match.

I was already telling myself that we can likewise win match five. But this was different. The first half was full of errors from our side, specifically from me. I hit clears so strong that overshoots the farthest line; did low serves with the net as the frequent receiver; and pushed drives right in front of our opponents’ racket, to their delight, and to my partner’s dismay.

On the second half though, hope came up. Joan’s skills and confidence remained and we recovered some lost points until we reached a 20-20 score. We went on a race to score 3. Unfortunately, my beginner’s luck ran out. We had to face defeat in 1-3. We left court number six feeling bitter and disappointed knowing that we could have done better. But it’s how competition goes–one wins, the other loses, one partner sucks.

Despite the competitive atmosphere, the whole match levels from A to C went well, friendly and fun. The photo ops were even well participated by everyone from either company. In the end, Intel grabbed the overall championship and I know for a fact that we always do. And so, I went home exhausted but proud, knowing that this time I was among those who contributed to that win.

D-Day: Job Interview

“Those who failed to prepare, should be prepared to fail.”  By coincidence, these words popped out on the noontime TV game show that my wife was watching yesterday–a day after my doomed job interview.

The new job adventure started out of curiosity and boredom one good Sunday morning while browsing through the newspapers. The ad states: “40minutes pre-qualifying assessment.” It’s from a call center agency.

It was this year when I started hearing all about this job. Based on the news, it has been the hope of most people seeking local employment as they say that most Filipinos are still speaking fluent English than its Asian neighbors—at least for now.

But just like any other things, there is a good side and bad side of it. The good: it is high paying. The bad: it is routine, and so therefore I conclude as boring.

Being optimistic, however, the good part attracted me into it immediately even if I know deep inside that I am not the type of person who can handle phone calls easily, not to mention receiving complaints from the other end of the line. It would be like challenging me to answer my own complaints over the phone.

Anyway, on that lazy Sunday, I took the 40-minute assessment both over the phone and online. Proudly, I aced it. From that moment on, it felt like I could be on my way to a call center job. A couple of days later I received a call telling me of the scheduled interview—it’s a week later.

D-day came and, with my wife, I went on early to the place as instructed but things started getting topsy turvy.

Firstly, we took the wrong way. We were supposed to take the shorter route but got stuck in traffic thus missing the exit. Despite this, my spirit remained high.

Next, a traffic enforcer flagged us down and said that I just did a swerving violation. At this point I was praying to God to show me a sign that this job interview is still for me. Lo and behold, the enforcer gave me a verbal reprimand and let us go in a jiffy.

Soon after, we reached our destiny ahead of time–at least, we thought so. We were already sitting in a pizza restaurant and waiting for our orders, when my wife asked if I am sure that we are in the right place.

To confirm, I checked the notepad in my portfolio and scribbled on it is another address. Damn. I can almost remember the Amazing Race’s desperate scenes on TV. Once we got our orders, we had it packed to go and headed straight to the parking lot and to the right place. By this time, I was almost giving up.

But again, I prayed that if it this is for me, then I should expect to still arrive on time and luckily, there are still good people around who helped us find our way. My hopes got back up.

Thirty minutes ahead of the scheduled interview, we arrived at the office. I skipped lunch, had coffee and Smints instead.

My wife left me with seven other applicants (she waited and kept herself occupied in the mall). To my surprise,  I soon learned that there will be further exams prior to the interview proper. So with empty stomach but with full spirit, I took it.The timed exams were actually easy. Most of it were English proficiency and a little math.

The interview happened and then the unexpected question came. “How do you deal with difficult people?” If there was a camera inside that room, I knew, one would find me almost sweating just to answer it. It was not my forte. I wasn’t prepared to answer.

“Don’t call us, we’ll call you” was the last line I heard. And I have read that whenever it is mentioned after an interview, one can actually expect no call at all. I blew it.

Although I still have my current job, this event tells me things I need to know. It’s been 10 years since I have applied for one and got accepted, and it may have given me the false confidence that I pass this one again. And I was wrong. Next time, I’ll come prepared.

Driving home, I ate the lunch I missed–the Charlie Chan pasta. I was disappointed but not really down. I still got my job, still got my wife. I was humbled.