I have learned a lot of things this week. It’s been one of those weeks that makes me question whether I ever knew anything at all.
While pretending to watch the Olympics at work, a tactic used by many in the service industry to avoid conversation and feign interest, we came upon doubles Badminton.
In grade 8, I had a crush on Brian McCann. He had freckles and was a couple of inches shorter than me, which didn’t bother me at all. I had grown to my adult height by grade 7, and weighed about 90 pounds soaking wet. I looked like a piece of grass blowing in the wind. Basically, I looked like this:
I was used to having to accommodate for the height difference in the boys who were yet to have their spurt. And Brian was one of my top crushes. I would pretend to be chilly so I could borrow his sweater. That was the thing to do in Grade 8. The surge of excitement from the smell of cheap cologne on a Jacob & Lazer sweatshirt is a special feeling that has yet to be matched.
The evil lords of Junior High forced the boys and girls of Grade 8 to have gym class together, and I found the entire experience an exercise in draft dodging. Until one glorious day. A day that I could never have dreamed of.
We had to play Badminton. We had to have partners. And mine was Brian McCann.
In my young mind, I forecasted us being a great team, winning against all odds and developing a friendship that would blossom into romance. Badminton would be the base of our love.
It didn’t work out like that.
I was so terrible at Badminton that I might as well have just let him play by myself. My legs and arms were operated by different drivers, and try as you may, it’s hard to furiously attack a piece of plastic with a racket while looking cute. A piece of plastic with such little street cred that its near-technical name is Birdie.
Little love blossomed from our Badminton partnership, just a lot of embarrassment which led to my retirement from the sport at the end of that grade.
Watching the Doubles Badminton on TV last week, I saw how intense the players were. I wish I was smart enough then to attack that birdie with everything I had in me.
I also questioned the term Birdie and took to Wikipedia to find out its authenticity. I learned 2 things.
1) The technical term is Shuttlecock. I am going to stop there.
2) They have Mixed Doubles in the Olympics.
This is a romance novel waiting to happen.