Badminton - Mixed Doubles Preview

Friday, October 08, 2004

Britain, in the shape of Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson, won a silver medal in the mixed doubles in Athens. It was a thrilling final, watched by a very noisy British contingent (of which, our very own John Adams was one – he’s the one on the far end of the group (six from the left) – the guy in the cowboy hat is Soz, also known as the ubiquitous Ultimate Olympian comment-poster, Swiss Toni). Culturally, it was a giant leap forward for Britain as a whole.

Although it may not feel like it when you’re driving around this green and pleasant land, we are a nation of polite and deferential gentlefolk who wouldn’t say boo to a goose, so to come so close to winning a gold medal in a sport that requires one to be frankly rude in not apologising to one’s partner is quite an achievement. I have mentioned before the importance of not apologising when playing doubles – this was almost (but not quite) possible to do when I had Gareth next to me, but I suspect I may find it much harder tomorrow morning when I line up alongside my wife.

History is littered with examples of mighty husband & wife teams – Paul and Debbie McGee, Richard and Judy, the Krankies – so it is in illustrious footsteps we will gingerly tread as we carry the weight of history with us to the Peers Sports Centre at 10:00AM tomorrow. Gareth Forber and Jo Hutton provide the opposition, but they’re not married, so we should be fine.

I’ve played some mixed doubles before, but never with Katie. I can only assume from the state of her racket (retrieved from the attic at her mother’s house during the week) that she is either a ferocious player with incredible and terrifying power, or that she got really bored the last time she played and ended up eating the grip off her racket.

I’ve never seen Jo play either, although I’ve heard on the grapevine that she has a PhD in badminton studies, so I’m expecting great things. If she can offer the sort of feisty, controlled aggression on the badminton court that she displays when talking about her sister’s taste in men, we could be in trouble.

Timo Kindred (Sascha’s twin brother) is coming to stay this weekend and was pencilled in to partner Jo, until he remembered that he has only recently had surgery on his knee. He very sensibly relegated himself to official cameraman, and Gareth has come to the rescue to make up the numbers.

My main priority is not to injure anyone. When I played with a club last winter, a week would seldom pass without someone (although, strangely, never me) accidentally sending a shuttle or racket careering into one of the female players. In general, this doesn’t hurt that much, so it shouldn’t be anything to feel overly guilty about, but when you’re not allowed to apologise…

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

If someone hits me with a shuttle or racket, accidently or otherwise, it won't just be the handle of my racket I'll be biting off! Lovingly, Mrs Mac x

Anonymous said...

I really hope the Krankies comment isn't setting us up for any revelations. Having met Katie it's clear that if anyone is a cross-dressing midget schoolboy it must be John. He DID used to wear school uniform a lot but we were at school at the time so I didn't think much of it.

And you forgot Torville and Dean, who weren't married although I thought they were for a decade. Yes, I know their surnames are different, just took me a while.

Snez.

John said...

Spookily, Torville and Dean were in my initial draft of the above, but I deleted them when I remembered that they weren't actually married (to each other at any rate). I too thought for a long time that they were married, but this was due to my strict religious upbringing that vehemently prohibited ice-dancing-to-Ravel before marriage.

Apologies to our American cousins, who are unlikely to have any idea who Torville, Dean or the Krankies are.