Life Lessons From Badminton

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The 3 happy winners

The 3 happy winners

I have to admit that I am still in Cloud 9 after our team won this year’s Corporate Decathlon Badminton Competition last Saturday…..*BIG smiles*. It’s something that we look forward to every year. I think I had joined 5 times already and every year I find I played better than the previous year. That’s such a good feeling itself! By the way, don’t be mistaken. Don’t go ‘WOW!”….haha. I’m not a professional player, just an amateur one. See, that’s our happy team leader (top picture) in the centre. Doesn’t he look cute? By the way, he’s not that short. Just that the other 2 are TOO tall…..*big grin*. Everyone had a good laugh when this picture was taken….haha

The winning team

The champion!

The champion team

The champion team

Oooops….not everyone was ready when this picture was taken! In the women’s double, I played with the girl second from left. In the 3 mixed doubles, I played twice with the guy second from left and another match with the guy on the furthest right. I’m glad that I have strong partners. It sure helps to win…..*big smiles*

The Wild Card Team

The Wild Card Team

We are so proud of our Wild Card Team. They got a plate for coming third for the plate.

20 companies took part in this competition and I played for my hubby’s company. Immediate family members can take part. It’s meant to be friendly matches but still a competition. Every company sent 1 team but 3 companies, including hubby’s company, sent 2 teams….Team A and a Wild Card Team. I was in Team A while hubby was in the Wild Card Team. My eldest daughter was back for a weekend holiday. We forgot to tell her that our weekend would be busy…..oooops. Well, she was too happy to come along to support. But to her surprise she was being invited to join the wild card team because they were short of 1 player! Actually the lady came late. Good for my girl…..*big smiles* . My youngest daughter was also playing, but for her company. This means my whole family was in the competition! What a joy!….*big smiles*.

In each set of games against another company, there’s a men’s double, women’s double and mixed double in that order. To win the set, we have to win 2 out of the 3 games. And you only play once. It’s either you play until 21 points to win or stop when the buzzer sounds at 8 mins. The winner will play with the winner of another company while the loser will play with the loser. This continues until you get the overall winner who gets the championship. The winner of the losing teams get a plate. The competition started from 11am until about 5pm. You can leave if you are knocked out early. Our team A won the championship while the Wild Card team came third for the plate.

The Corporate Decathlon runs through the whole year covering 10 sports/activities. They are:

Darts
Climbing
Volleyball
Dance the World
Highland Games
Touch Rugby
Dragon Boat Racing
Orienteering Mountain Biking
Badminton
Personal Health Challenge

At the end of the season, there will be an overall champion. Hubby’s company came third in the overall…….well done!

Badminton is the only sport that I play and it means everything to me. I played a little when I was young…..in the open field against the wind! Played less than 10 times when I was in university and played a little when my girls were young. It was only about 6 years ago that I started again. It was to help me go through a very tough time in life. I just felt SO good smashing at the poor shuttlecock, whether it crossed the net or not…..*big grin*. I soon realised that badminton is the most suitable exercise for me as it’s indoor and can be enjoyed throughout the year…..*big smiles*.

Badminton has taught me many lessons in life which is highly beneficial to me everyday. To me winning is not everything. It gives a good feeling no doubt but there’s more to it. To me, just being passionate about badminton and being in a competition, sometimes winning, has taught me many important life lessons that I want to share with you. I hope my sharing will help you get on to a higher place in your life….a more successful and more meaningful life. Here are some of the important lessons that I learned from badminton. It has really helped me grow as a person.

1. Discipline and Commitment

Badminton has taught me a lot about discipline, commitment and self-improvement in life. Badminton requires a lot of hard work and perseverance. It may be just a sport but I can apply the same discipline and commitment to other areas of my life, like cooking, parenting, marriage, career, friendship, etc etc. It helps me to progress and helps me not to give up when the going gets tough and challenging.

I remember when I started playing badminton about 6 years ago, it was sheer hard work…..frustrating and exhausting! I suffered from headache, muscle ache and body ache the next day without fail, for many, many months. I couldn’t hit the shuttlecock far and I often got smashed by the good players. How frustrating is that! That was because there were very few women players. During those early days, most of the time I was the only woman to battle it out with the men! I didn’t want to disappoint them or spoil their game so I played VERY hard. I ran very hard to get the shots and dived for it if I need to. All the diving even caused a big hole in my sports trousers and even bruises on my hand knuckles. But I told myself I would not quit! I still went for my games whether rain, sun or snow. I need to be committed if I’m serious.

2. Humility to Accept Help

We always hear that ‘practice makes perfect’. But I realise that it wasn’t 100% true. I have seen people playing for 10 years or so and still couldn’t play well. Something must be wrong somewhere. I soon realised that a coach or someone skilled and competent is needful. It makes the journey easier. I am always thankful to a friend who was willing to teach me. He is not a badminton coach but he is a very good player himself. He gave me good tips and practised with me. He corrected my mistakes, like the way I held my racket. I watched how he and the others played and I put to practice what he taught. SLOWLY I saw myself improving and started to enjoy the game. It takes humility to accept help, be corrected and to learn.

So, if you want to do something well, a quicker way is to get a coach. Sometimes it’s worth it to pay someone to help. It makes the journey shorter and more enjoyable before you give up. Habits are hard to change but if you want to move on to the next level and reach higher goals, it’s important to be humble to seek help, whether for free or having to pay.

3. Focus

Badminton has taught me how to stay focus in life. Living in a very fast moving world, it is so easy to get distracted and confused. How many times we have a list of things to do each day but never go through half of it. The main reason is distraction. We can say we are very busy when we can be hooked up to the telephone for hours! Occasionally I’m guilty of that too….*big grin*. But overall, I stay quite focused.

When you are in a game, you have no time to think of other things except where the shot is coming and where to return your shots. You need razor sharp focus otherwise you are going to make a lot of unforced errors. You need to stay calm and keep your thoughts and temper under control. You need to make super fast decision. A split second of hesitation will cause you a point lost to the opponent. So often in life we think too long and too hard and we miss precious opportunities. we were just too trivial and not focused.

4. Self Confidence

Badminton not only builds self discipline but it builds self confidence too. As you improve in badminton and start to enjoy it, your self confidence soars, not only in badminton but in other areas of your life too. Confidence helps to build independence and responsibility. When you have confidence, you dare to fight on no matter what are the challenges. How many opportunities in life had we lost due to the lack of confidence? It’s time to gain back lost grounds by building up your self confidence. One of the ways is through sports like badminton.

5. Team Work and Social Skill

Badminton builds the spirit of teamwork as you have to work and play with other people. Not only do you learn teamwork but you learn about social skills too. Too often we see very intelligent professionals deep in loneliness and depression. One of the main reasons is because they lack social skills which in turn also affect family life.

We always hear ‘No one is an island’. It’s true. We can’t live alone. We are living in a very complex world where we need one another. We exchange information and learn from each other. We need to be able to work well with others and be able to relate well to others too. All these we can learn through group activities like badminton and other sports.

6. Sportsmanship

Badminton has taught me a lot about sportsmanship. Yes, I want to win but it’s ok to lose and still be great friends with my opponents. I have seen aggressive, rude players and it frighten’s the life out of me. So thankful all those that I play with are really nice people. We joke and laugh together. There’s so much I learn from them. I learned to take in negative criticism well. I have learned that it’s perfectly alright to lose.

7. Champion mindset

Badminton is a mental game and success comes with a price. The game is only over when you play the last point. You always have to motivate and encourage yourself. I would never say I am a bad or weak player. I would always tell myself to play my best and expect to win. That’s a champion mindset. I won’t let good players drive fear into me. And I don’t allow myself to feel disappointed if I lose. Failure is not failure unless you refuse to try again. I had been beaten badly many times before. Disappointed? Of course I was. But I told myself I would win if I don’t give up.

Failure teaches you to develop and draw upon your inner strength, resolve and wisdom to learn from the losses in order to win. After all these years, I’m really glad to say I do play well for my age and I’m very happy with that. I don’t need to be a world champion but I’m happy at where I am because I have put in my best.

Being defeated in badminton has actually helped me handle failures and bad experiences in my life which in turn I can use to teach my own children. Failure is part and parcel of life. It doesn’t mean that you should quit or give up on your goals. It just means you need to give yourself another chance to learn more skills, take more risks and do it differently and that success is on the way.

8. Determination and Courage

Badminton teaches me determination and courage. Too often, my partner and I were losing badly but we were determined to battle on to the last point. To our surprise, we won on several occasions. I need the courage to go on. Just don’t think of the points. Think of that very moment. Stay very focus.

Isn’t that’s what we need in life? Too often we just want to quit and call it a day. We think…….Life is just too hard. It’s not going to work. What’s the point? No one knows anyway. I don’t care. Why should I care. I try so hard but no one appreciates…….etc etc. It’s during those times that we really need to draw all the strength and courage from deep within and be determined not to quit but to make whatever it is, work. Too often we want to go the easy way but I have discovered that when I am determined to go through the tough ways, I reap greater rewards.

9. Respect for Others

Badminton teaches you respect for others. You can be playing with the best players or the worst players but you need to respect whoever is on the court playing with you, whether playing single or doubles. There are times when you play the best that you can and still end up being defeated. Respect anyway and learn to play in a different way because different players have different tactics.

10. Friendship

Badminton builds friendship. I play badminton in 3 different places and I find it really wonderful to have lots of badminton friends, people of all races and age. These are friends that I really cherish because they are the ones that makes me improve on my badminton skills and make my life more meaningful.

11. Exercise and Health

We all know that we need to de-stress, exercise and eat healthy food to achieve optimum health. But why is it that many of us are not doing it? I think this is the question only you can answer yourself. I only know that we, human beings, are exceptionally good in giving excuses. That includes me…..*big grin*. We complain we are tired, sick and depressed but yet we are still sitting around and not doing much. Most of the time we would rather go and see a doctor, pop in some pills and carry on with our life. When the problem strikes back, we pop in more pills. Little did we realise that all drugs have a side effect, whether short term or long term. And most of the time it only removes the symptoms without a complete cure.

Playing badminton gives you a good cardio workout as you run and and hit the shuttlecock. It increases your heart rate, which improves your circulatory health, lowers your risk for heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. I have women friends who are in their 60s and still playing badminton. I met one recently and she is 72! I was SO inspired when I heard that she still plays regularly. That gives me tonnes of confidence to play for many more years to come…..*big smiles*.

Overall, badminton is such a challenging physical, mental and emotional game. It’s really a game where you challenge yourself to go higher. It makes you realise your strengths and limitations and learn how to use them to your advantage. You’ve got to keep trying, keep moving and keep your eye on what’s important. Badminton is a game that requires constant improvement. That’s what is important in life…..constant self improvement. No one can do it for you. People around you can give you all the support and encouragement but you have to do it yourself.

For all the reasons I have given above I do hope that you will consider taking up a sport if you haven’t. You are never too old to start. And if you are already doing a sport, I really applaud you and cheer you on. And if you are often in competitions, then you are just such an inspiration to me. I wish I can see you play!

Til then see you in my next post. Take care and enjoy your day and weekend!

Quote of the day……

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood”

- Helen Keller

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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10 Comments

somewhere in singapore  on October 11th, 2013

Good afternoon Mary…

somewhere in singapore  on October 11th, 2013

Congratulations!!!

somewhere in singapore  on October 11th, 2013

Have a great weekend ahead…

Mary  on October 11th, 2013

@somewhere in singapore - Sharon, you are always sooooo sweet! Hope you have a great weekend too. Remember always to eat my share of food ok? :D

Juliet  on October 11th, 2013

Congrats! I enjoyed reading your reflection. Adds a lot of meaning to life too

suituapui  on October 11th, 2013

Congrats!!! I wouldn’t be able to last one set, I’m sure… Sighhhh!!!!

Cheah  on October 11th, 2013

Congrats, Mary! Gosh, that was a good write-up, an eye opener!

Eileen  on October 12th, 2013

So impressive!

Blackswan  on October 13th, 2013

You’re amazing, Mary! Looks like I’ve to pick up a sports too. Recently, just enrolled for a Korean class together with my hubby. It’s fun, but having headache over our homework. Lol!

Hey, I’ve just revamped my page. Do let me know your thoughts. Let me know if I should remove the pix slides. Thks & happy weekend!

LeeQs  on December 5th, 2013

Looks like we have another thing in common, we both love badminton. I could definitely play this all day and not get bored. Thanks for sharing those very insightful life lessons. I never liked the phrase “practice makes perfect”. I liked the phrase “practice makes better” more. Even as I teach my kids now, I never tell them practice makes perfect. I always tell them that if you practice, with time you will get better.

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