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.

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Born in 1974?

Life is full of ups and downs. The trick is to enjoy the ups and have courage during the downs – Author Unknown

November 30, 2006 was one of the most exciting times of my life. And the week prior was just as eventful.

I have been writing my birthday as Nov 30, 1973. I just know the date. Lately, though, while processing my Transcript of Records from where I got my Bachelor’s Degree, I had a frustrating and confusing time at the registrar’s office. I learned that they’re reading—or rather interpreting—my birth year on the photocopy as 1972 instead of 1973.

Ti abi. How could this happen? I’ve been using 1973 in my passports, government issued IDs, and licenses, gun license included (I don’t know if it would have helped convincing them if I brought this one along). But it all fell on deaf ears. I was short of choking someone’s neck that day. Good thing, my good side prevailed (play Psycho movie music here).

I left school that day wondering if I would be turning 33 or 34 this year. So yesterday, I anxiously went to claim my birth certificate from our local NSO (National Statistics Office). And there it was, legibly typed written on my birth date space, is nineteen seventy-three. 1, 9, 7, and 3. I’m indeed a certified 33-year-old man.  Never before have I appreciated my age.

***

November 29th

Driving from Starbucks Shangri-La Makati, by the wee hours of the morning, I was made to decide which way would take me home. Going right of the intersection leads to the Skyway ramp while left is a road that looks a lot faster via Coastal Road. So left road it is.

It was wrong decision—I entered a one way street. Upon exiting the lane, I was apprehended by a policeman. His back-up also arrived and both implied that I could get an easier way out of my traffic violation. “Birthday mo na pala bukas…ang layo mo pa,” the apprehending officer said as he takes a look at my driver’s license. He obviously wants me to bribe.

I was in another dilemma. Part of me was anxious to get over it and be home but I’ve been a firm believer that bribing makes one become part of the problem rather than the solution. So I got my ticket and left the policemen with nothing but my driver’s license. I drove away disappointed but proud of what I did. It will cost me more, but at least I made my stand.

***

November 28th

This day was unique for the T3 folks—my wife’s group. Instead of the usual Japanese buffet at Saisaki, this time they turned Chinese. We had dinner at Tong Yang Hot Pot in SM Megamall and surprisingly, majority of the guys are newbie to this sort of dining.

Nevertheless, they enjoyed preparing their own hotpot and grilled foods. There were oysters, dimsums, tuna, salmon, chicken innards, and veggies just to name a few. The men’s favorite was of course present—free flowing San Miguel beer for only P50 ($1). (And if you’re wondering, yes I followed the one bottle per hour rule for drivers like me.)

My wife went creative too. She got me a cake delivered by the waiter right to our table as a repertoire of birthday songs played over the whole restaurant. And it was all for me, for my advanced birthday party.

After the belly busting dinner, a bowling match followed and to cap the night we went to Nipa Hut bar in Pasig where we met up with a couple of ex-Intellites. We also had a couple of sisigs and gambas. And what could be more perfect match to those killers than beers. Yes. Beers. One bottle per hour again. Hik.

***

November 27th

The longest day. Wifey and I together with friends played at Lotus Badminton Center Inc. for almost six hours with rest and lunch included. (If I remember it right, we started playing badminton three years ago and fairly enough, we have improved our game.)

We left the court by past 3 p.m. On our way to SM Dasmarinas I was pondering on pampering ourselves with much needed body massage and hot oil treatment and that’s when our car broke down.

Luckily I was able to park it at the mall and did the troubleshooting right there. It was a busted alternator again (I replaced it approximately six months ago). I had no other choice but to buy a 2nd hand part that cost the same as the painting my wife was planning to buy. Ti abi.

I went home tired and dirty instead of refreshed and shiny.

***

November 26th

As a Sunday routine, I bought my copy of the Philstar (www.philstar.com). I was surprised upon reading that one of my favorite writer Max Soliven (also this paper’s Publisher) passed away last Friday, November 24th, while on his way home from Japan. Sanamagan.

I’ve admired him for his articles in By the Way. He wrote with courage and charisma and his style of writing almost never fails to amaze me. Well, that’s life I guess. Although I know that the list of writers with such caliber as Max are now dwindling in numbers, I just do hope that someone will come at par with the way he does. Wherever you are, may you rest in peace.