• Badminton, a sport for lanky Italians!

    Badminton, a game which has never been known to start a fight. Or so you think.

    It exists in the realms of polite discourse, a traditional past time of Anglo Saxon ilk that has yet again been mastered by many a Chinese community. Somewhat comparable to soft ball for baseball, badminton is the even more gentlemanly version of tennis. Or as one friend put it "a poncy version of squash"

    I think I've found my sport

    Don't get me wrong, football will always be the love of my life and motorsports the mistress, but this has given me the joie de vivre as the french would say.
    Squash is ideal for a man of my height and comparable wing span, I literally don't have to move to smash a shuttle-cock I just reach for it. You want lazi-dazical; I'm your man. There has never been a sport played in the history of past times where one man has excelled standing still.

    Thank you Mr Morris

    Mr Morris was my PE teacher at school, the kind of old school PE teacher that given the opportunity to participate in lessons, he would, and he'd take out the classroom bully with a panache suited to a Tarantino film.
    Come rain or shine, he knew what sport to teach and how to teach it. My failures at rugby, horrendous displays as a goalkeeper (I was short and very fat) and lack of jumping ability in athletics meant there was very little I could do well in.

    So one day out of the blue, when he presented the class with the game of badminton, I knew this could go one of two ways.

    I was atrocious. (I told you I was fat and short didn't I?)

    15 years later, somewhere in the suburbs of Naples...

    I am challenged to a game. Memories of "no, not like that, like this" come flooding back. This must be identical to some sort of post war syndrome but much worse...

    "We're playing for a pizza and coke" is the common phrase of the next unfolding hours. It's raining but I don't care, I'm from England, it would feel wrong if it wasn't.

    "1-0, 2-0, 2-1" and so on and so on.

    I'm like a man on fire, not knowing how to behave at being good at something that my cousins, who are perennially brilliant at everything, aren't.

    On today's Easter menu

    I am now the undefeated champion of Neapolitan badminton players, a title which requires some sort of certificate or trophy I reckon. I couldn't care less what you all think, badminton is a mans game in a world of economic turmoil and geo-political instability.

    Whilst you all may think that this Easter is going to be one spent, sat round a table, enjoying the food prepared by all, and rejoicing in being together, the traditional card games of Scopa and Briscola are out of the window. Yes because dear friends, Gino is in town, riding a crest of superiority, never once demonstrated before in front of my more intellectual and sportsman cousins.

    I'm never this confident, Badminton has changed me.

    I wish you all a Happy Easter, and think of me in lovely corduroy representing Italy in 2016, the Olympics won't know what's hit them!

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