I’ve been invited to join a corporate team event for the opening of a new badminton hall in the Hills District in Sydney. The newly opened NBC Seven Hills is one of the largest badminton halls in Sydney and Zhao Yunlei will be visiting NBC Silverwater & Seven Hills next week to take photos with members and signing autographs on limited shirts. Awesome!
When the Boss advised us to be prepared to come up against A grade teams, I wondered why he asked me to join since I’m no professional. This is the first badminton corporate team event I’ve ever joined. I initially felt excited but soon felt deflated because the boss said we’re unlikely to win. The rules have been thrown out the window particularly the rules which cap the number of top level players on a team. Fortunately, he said our goal is just to have fun. and was happy to sponsor the team and team uniform (Li-Ning Chinese national team t-shirts).
Every element of the new badminton hall has been carefully considered, including lighting, flooring, ventilation and ceiling height. The new hall meets BWF standards for Grade 1 flooring. Location-wise, there’s not many badminton facilities in the North West of Sydney and each facebook update has been welcomed with “likes” and comments by keen folk.
The tournament features 12 teams (with 3 women, 4 men in our team). The first part is round robin, with each team playing two other teams. Each team will play 2 x men’s doubles, 2 x mixed doubles, 1 x women’s doubles. The top team from each group goes on to play each other in the semis and finals.
The advantage of the round-robin is that it gives all teams an equal chance to participate. The downside is that it can be time-consuming. The hybrid elimination system will enable the tournament to be completed in less time. Which is important because I live an hour’s drive away in the opposite side of Sydney and it’s bound to be a long day.
Our team captain will decide pairings on the day. He’s a pretty relaxed guy and isn’t too worried about the results which is reassuring. Still, I don’t want to let the team down or look like a goose.
Forget the politics
Politics is one of the reasons I dislike competitions. It impacts who you play, timing between matches, umpiring decisions, complaints resolution, court allocation, etc. Even before the event, teams have been trying to poach players (I got an offer to play mixed doubles for another team) or recruit State Players (technically not allowed).
The tournament involves mostly people from the Chinese community so I suspect the rules will be casually disregarded and enforced (I’m being realistic, not racist). Chances are there will be controversial line calls, organizational bungles and lots of excitable players on the day. It’s all part of the game. Whoever wins will not just be technically skilled but also savvy.
This tournament will push me well out of my comfort zone. Shouting intimidates me and I’m not thrilled at the prospect of getting trashed. As a Chinese-looking female, it surprises some that I can’t speak mandarin and I get disdainful looks when I shake my head uncomprehendingly. Whenever I’m out of my comfort zone, my confidence plummets. But I said yes to the Boss because I wanted to have a go. My goal is to enjoy and just focus on the game. Wish us luck!