Today I quit badminton…
I don’t know how to feel…I feel lost, I feel sad and yet I feel relieved all at the same time. It’s so confusing! Let me take you back to the start, where it all began 9 years ago. I was 7 years old and joined my local badminton club. I instantly fell in love with the sport and played every Saturday, right up until I was 16.
Although you could argue I drifted away from the sport and my club over a long period of time, but today I hit the final nail in the coffin. I sent my coach the dreaded message, to tell him I quit. It was a very hard decision that I did not take lightly, in fact I have been contemplating since Christmas last year. The reasons why I left are long and complex, it’s hard to go through each and every one of them.
So how exactly did I quit? Well it started back in April 2016. There I was, a young 15 year old girl about to head into her GCSEs. I couldn’t balance my life between training, competitions and studying. It all became too much for me, so I went on a little break from badminton. I wanted to focus more on my revision and passing my exams, rather than focusing on the county championships. My exams and prom were all finished by late June, giving me the opportunity to go back. However I started NCS in just two weeks time, so I never went back. Then I did the 4 week NCS course, more time I spent away from badminton. Then just like that it’s mid August and I haven’t picked up a racket since April. So today I took the plunge and sent my coach the final message, telling him I would not be coming back.
So why didn’t I just go back? Let me run you through my reasons:
Reason 1: Out too long
I had been out of badminton for a solid 4 months, it would have taken me ages to pick it up again and get even close to the standard I was at.
Reason 2: Didn’t make the county squad
I had been playing badminton for 9 years and I still hadn’t been selected for county. I knew fully well I was never going to make it in the badminton field. Before I always hoped that I would be spotted by a talent scout, but I was beginning to realises that it would not happen.
Reason 3: Coach issues
My coach and I didn’t always see eye to eye. Over the years he had done some things that really annoyed me. He often sent passively aggressive messages out, especially when I missed training. Not only this he had clear favourites and I simply wasn’t one of them.
Reason 4: Socially awkward
I’m not the best when it comes to socialising, so I often felt left out and excluded. A lot of the players I played with were much older than me, so off court they had nothing to do with me. I spent ages sat on the bench by myself, or awkwardly stood in the corner with nobody to play with.
Reason 5: Competition?
As I got better at badminton, I found myself being entered into more and more competitions. It all got a bit too much for me. I am not really a competitive person and not only that I sometimes felt like my own team mates were against me!
Reason 6: Coaching
In my final season of badminton I volunteered as a junior coach. However I didn’t particularly enjoy it, I’m not really a kiddy person. I felt so awkward and stiff being there, working with kids really isn’t for me. Not only that the kids didn’t respect me and I had so little authority.
Reason 7: Upcoming talent
As the years moved on I became one of the older members. It was clear that some of the younger up and coming talent would soon be beating me. It was only a matter of time. I was on top of my game when I left, but had I left 2 years later then it could have been a whole different story.
So that’s why I left badminton behind. It does make me a little sad in away as I feel like badminton is apart of my childhood. However I guess all good things have to come to an end. When I start to miss badminton, I just remind myself of all the bad times I have had there. Like that one time when I got beaten by a 13 year old girl. I remind myself of the horrors of competitions, late night training and worrying about sweating. I remember that one night where I walked out crying as nobody wanted to play with me. I remember the funny looks people gave me and the snarky comments people made. I remember walking out in the rain and I remember wanting to fall through the floor. Then I say to myself: ‘do I really want to put myself through that again?’ The answer is no.