Based on a true story
“ seriously, what do you take me for? That’s hurting me!” exclaimed as he examined her wrist for the second time that day.
“Just go in, win it, and I’ll sort your wrist out after – okay?” He compromised.
“But how do I win it, if I can’t move it?”
“I’ll tape it up for you, so you admit your nervous? The almighty , nervous?? What’s this world coming to?” He joked. “Good luck!” He smirked happy not to be in her position. She made her way back from the side lines onto the badminton court fearing her opponent.
Even though they won, was nearly in tears afterwards, her wrist was going to be the reason she quit everything. She got dressed and joined in the celebrations knowing in her heart this might not last forever – it was good whilst it lasted though.
“ – er the physiotherapist wants to see you in his room now.” One of ’s friends told her. She nodded and thanked her making her way through the doors to see .
“Hey..” greeted him shakily not aware of what was going to follow.
“Hey, you okay?” He patted the chair beside him, she suddenly gripped her wrist and nodded reluctantly taking the seat. “ – you and me both know that your wrist isn’t strong enough.” He told her softly. She felt the words hit her like knives. The only reason she was in this place was because of her. All her life she’d quit everything – this was the one thing she’d held onto making sure with all her determination she took this to the end.
“Strong enough for what?” looked at him for the first time.
“ you know I don’t want to be the person to tell you this, you know that more than anyone right?” She nodded hesitantly. “ you can’t keep playing. You’ve got to do something.” Tears fell down her cheeks.
“So what am I supposed to do? After all this? I’m gunna have to quit?”
“You don’t have to quit . I’m just telling you, I can’t give you strength. There’s options, you can have an operation but that’s probably going to do more damage than fixing. You could try to just lay off the badminton for a bit?”
“ ! You don’t understand, you don’t know how hard I’ve worked to get to this point, and now you’re telling me I can’t play anymore – do you know how much that hurts??” “ - you’ve got to stop. Stop doing this to yourself. I’ll inject you with painkillers now, but there’s nothing I can do until you give the badminton a rest, even for like a few weeks.” “But you know, you’ll be saying more after those few weeks...” she sobbed not knowing what to do. He took her wrist from her lap and placed it onto his taking out the liquids. “ you’ve got to understand..”
“No , you understand, if I give up now for the amount of time you’re going to be asking me to, I’ll have to start going back to where I started, that whole thing of not being established, the whole part where I don’t know if I’m coming of going, do you know what that was like?? I don’t, I can’t go back to that!”
“ you’re not going to have a choice... you either take a break of say goodbye to your wrist.” She winced feeling the needle pierce her skin, but more was done to her heart. It felt as though all those years of practise and training hadn’t meant anything at all.
“Come on , you can do this. You can’t just give up fighting.”
“Yeah but I can’t give up everything you’re asking me to ...”
“Look, I’ll talk to your coach and see what she has to say about it. But I can’t tell you lies , that’s not what I’m here for.” She nodded.
Everyone was in high spirits for the evening celebrations. There was the speeches, there was the dinner, there was the after party, but it didn’t seem to mean anything. What’s the point to anything, when it’s just going to be ripped from under your feet?
“ ?” Her coach, Sarah called to her during the party. “Come to my office for a minute.” She nodded and followed her up the stairs. “Take a seat,” she encouraged her. “ ’s discussed with me your future as it were. You shouldn’t be taking on so much pressures all at once , it doesn’t do anything for you. I understand totally from where you’re coming from, I know it hasn’t been an easy road to get to where you are now, but you’re not exactly in the big time. I do however believe that you could be . If that’s sorted, yes you will have to wait for a few months, and start all over again with a new partner etc. But I think that you could make it, you’ve just got to start believing in yourself again. “
“Yeah, I understand, I guess it is your decision but I don’t want to have to go through the whole thing again.”
“ , it’s not my decision, you have the choice now – you can either continue playing like this and risking it which is fine by me if you want – or you enter the mixed couples tournament this December which is 5 months time. You’ll have plenty of time to rest your wrist also.”
“And where do you propose I find a guy who will play with me?” queried getting slightly frustrated that nobody seemed to understand
Some questions have answers, whilst others just lead you on. How coincidental was it that appeared from the door. didn’t quite know what to do with herself. She raised her hands and walked out the door – she felt bad that she’d not said at least thank you, but that was the last of her worries.
“ !” she could hear them calling after her, there was too much to think about, this just wasn’t the right time.
Her heart pounded, she had been avoiding all day. It was proving near to impossible, nothing seemed to be going right. Her wrist was in agony, and knew that she had to go see him to at least give her some treatment if not talk to him. Reluctantly, she made her way over to the office in fear of what he would think of her. After a moments hesitation she knocked softly on the door taking a big step back. She heard a grumbled response and opened the door.
“Hey ,” he said slightly too friendly for her liking.
“Hey, my wrist is hurting again, can you please do something?” She asked him timidly.
“Yeah, sure, take a seat.” He ushered her to the chair beside him taking her injured limb in his hands. “So what do you think about this tournament?”
“I don’t know, sorry I walked out by the way, I’ve just got a lot to think about.” told him.
“Don’t worry, what things?”
“Like not making the wrong decision, I don’t know if I want to do this anymore, I don’t know if I can. I’m really fed up of people just like not even giving me a second glance, its just bugging me now, I don’t know if this is what I want to do.”
“But , the whole point of you doing this was that you didn’t quit. Do you really want to look back in a few years time and think ‘what if?’” She didn’t respond. “All I’m saying is, I’ve been where you are , and I know it’s not nice.” She winced as he pressed on her wrist. “Sorry, please don’t make the same mistake as I did...” remained silent and let the words rush over her. “There’s a training meeting tomorrow, so if you are interested then come. If not then nobody’s going to think of you as badly. I get that’s it a big decision ,” she couldn’t help but allow one droplet of water drop from her eye down her cheeks. He held her in embrace. “I’m sorry , I wish I could do something, I really do.”
“It’s not your fault, thanks for the help...” she told him. “I might see you tomorrow then.. or maybe not...” he watched her expression change from sadness to frustration back to confusion. His heart went out to her.
“Okay , don’t worry too much, do whatever you think is right. You never know this could be the best decision you’ve ever made.” He smiled watching her leave.
watched people pass her by. She stood in the reception of the club, scared. was unsure if she’d made the right choice, she was confused if she had made the worst choice of her life. Her heart was pounding like a ball against a wall. Catching sight of her coach, she shuffled out of vision on one of the chairs. She didn’t quit know what she was waiting for, maybe , maybe a miracle.
“ ... you came!” ’s voice was elated. “Guess what – I had an idea, imagine if we trained you right from scratch to play left handed.” He watched her eyebrows rise in doubt. “Think about it,” he grinned. She stood up and followed him through the corridor into the room she’d been dreading going in.
“Wait, what if people think like I’m really stupid for doing this??” She asked falling behind. “ , you shouldn’t care what people think, you’re here for you, not for anyone else in there.” She nodded at his response and followed him into the room. There was a circular table and a piece of paper on each chair. sat down beside . They were the last two to complete the circle. Everyone had come in two’s, assuming they were the partners they were going to play with.
The main coach ran through all the iternary and rules, was listening with intensity trying to find a loop hole of getting out of the tournament. “If you win – you will be signed,” was the repeated line going on in her head. Now she was doubting if it was even what she wanted.
and left the meeting together and sat outside for a while in the summer sun. “So, what’d you think?”
“It sounds good, if we win.” She grinned. “I guess it’ll be fun...” was planning to look at this as an opportunity even though she did believe that she would fall at the very first hurdle.
“You know as soon as you start believing in yourself, we’ll be winning everything.” told her smiling. At least she’d made one person happy.
“How did you start playing badminton?” asked out of curiosity.
“I was in the exact same position as you, only I injured my knee and I got told that I’d never make it doing any sport. So the doctor told me to take up a sport which I could stand pretty much still. So I started with badminton after I recovered. It was hard because you did have to move quickly but it wasn’t a contact sport which was the plus side. Then I started winning just like matches against my dad, someone spotted me and then they asked me to play against these other people. After a while I’d have lessons, I didn’t know any of the opponents, I just used to play with my dad, then when I got assigned a coach he started to put me against the best people. Then I got good, only I had to pass exams too.” He told her, “so I got a degree in physiotherapy and had the chance to go to places like Brazil and New Zealand to practise and treat the best players, I think in the end I did make a good decision. I mean I could have tried for football all my life, and could have been signed, but I don’t think it meant that much as badminton did, because I had to work to get where I am whereas football I was good at anyway.”
“So it’s like a fairytale ending right?”
“Something like that,” he grinned. “okay, here’s the plan. Number 1, you will no matter what keep playing this game, you will be a winner no matter if you lose every single match. you have to believe in yourself, play for the memories. Number 2, I’m going to make you train till you drop and then we’re going to beat everyone in that tournament.” She grinned. “Do you trust me?”
“Yes,” she said after a moment’s hesitation.
“Then trust me when I say that I won’t let you fail, okay?” She nodded and hugged him happy she had someone to help her.
completed her tournament but didn’t win placing second. However, she got spotted by a spectator and got a contract. She still hasn’t quit and is aiming to be one of the best athletes and fulfil her utmost potential.