I’m not sure if you’ve ever played badminton, but it doesn’t matter, because you’ve been playing it all wrong.
See, you’ve been playing it as a lawn game, like croquet or…I dunno, tanning. MY crew, we play it Columbia County-style. We play it as a sport.
My crew lays their heads in the sparsely populated towns north of Hudson, where the lack of stores and traffic lights allows us to rent properties the size of New York City blocks, perfect for bonfires, sack races, yelling at deer, and all the other rural activities people in the backwoods of the Hudson Valley enjoy.
And badminton. MY crew’s way.
First of all, we don’t use a badminton net. That shit’s for amateurs. Our set-up involves a jerry-rigged contraption consisting of an old volleyball net tenuously lashed onto two tent poles. The volleyball net is wider — and therefore more exxxtreme — than your standard badminton net, and we position it at a height that encourages a lot of leaping.
We next take the contraption and shove it into the boggiest section of our perennially over-saturated lawn possible. This ensures the repeated games of badminton will turn the entire sector into a mud-pit, and players will be able to throw themselves into picturesque slides and dives throughout the game until they come out looking like survivors of the Woodstock Festival (not the hippie one in the sixties, the one in the nineties where everyone set fires).
And the court’s boundaries? Unofficial. We measure the sides by making the player with the largest feet mince out 22 foot-lengths. This leads to constant arguments over what’s in or out.
But that’s how we play. MAD street.
Gatorade? Water? Nah. When WE play, we drink spiked seltzer, the new concoction created by alcohol executives bent on finding innovative ways to get you drunk. We recently switched to the seltzer from beer, in part because it has less calories.
Because if you wanna be good at Badminton, you’ve got to watch your figure.
You also have to scream a lot. One of the members of our crew is a tennis fanatic, and therefore screams very tennis-y things, such as “ACE!” He also screams “FUCK” a lot, or, more accurately, “FUUUUUUCCCKK!” when something goes wrong. We recently shifted our court near our elderly neighbor’s property line, so these profane bellows now blast through his open windows and ricochet around his house, but WE don’t care.
Because we’re BAD-ass.
Our crew recently got a new member — a novice, but a novice with incredibly long limbs, which has, unfairly enough, made her a decent player.
However, she doesn’t quite have her sea legs yet, so what escapes her mouth when the shuttlecock is heading towards her is a gentle, desperate, “no…no,” like some horrific evil fate is about to befall her that she has little chance of avoiding.
She took off her shoes and played in socks last week, an incredibly weird choice, and an incredibly erroneous one. Naw, when you ride with OUR crew, it’s bare feet only.
No one has (yet) been injured in exxxtreme badminton, which is more good luck than anything else, especially since our new court features a gopher hole that has been slowly widening with game-play until now it has the perfect dimensions to engulf a player’s foot as the rest of their body continues forward.
In our world, we call that an “obstacle.”
Are there no available food options after 10 p.m. where my crew rolls? Doesn’t matter. We’ll be setting up spikes and drop-shots long into the night thanks to a spotlight we’ve rigged on the second story of our house.
So if you want to get hard — like, veteran-who-boxes hard — than drive your sorry ass up to Columbia County, shuck your shoes, and look sharp.
We’re gonna destroy you.