Pleasant memories of ball badminton

Nowadays whenever I watch badminton news on TV, I wish it was about ball badminton. But usually, it’s all about shuttle badminton to my huge let-down.

These days, I hear nothing about ball badminton. I wonder whether ball badminton, dominated and almost replaced by shuttle badminton, became extinct from the sports arena at state and national levels. As an ardent admirer of ball badminton, I feel disconsolate while pondering over the glory of this game in the by-gone years and its unceremonious extinction.

But I have a treasure-trove of many memories of this beautiful, exciting game. In late 60s when I was a student of ZP High School, I took to playing ball badminton every evening as it was my favorite game. Our high school was in a village but our physical director, Rajaiah (whom we called drill-master), a tall, ever-smiling young man with many medals and prizes to his credit, was adept at ball badminton. He always stressed the importance of games for the physical and mental health of students and encouraged us to participate in games and sports.

At 4.30 pm, our physical director was invariably in the playground with bats, nets and balls waiting patiently for the ringing of the long, evening bell. After the schoolwork, we used to run to the playground. The net was already tied to the poles and the court was well-prepared for the game. We stepped into the ball badminton court and started playing the game. Our physical director, never stood aloof from the game we were playing.

He mingled with the students so freely like a friend and he himself played the game with us, demonstrating how to play the game skillfully. He taught us techniques of the game such as how to make service, how to defend, how to assault the opponent, how to confuse the rival with screw-service, how to make a shot, how to hit the ball when the air was blowing. and how to make a drop over the net. When he was not playing the game, he stood on a stool at the pillar, watching very carefully each one’s play and pointed out our mistakes and corrected them, often he himself stepping into the court and playing the game. Such was our great, supreme physical director, Rajaiah whom we all loved and adored so much as our hero.

Under his supervision and intensive coaching, our badminton team won district-level ball badminton competitions and we brought a glittering silver cup as the symbol of our triumph to our school to the pride and joy of our physical director and teachers. I still remember those victorious and jubilant moments of our ball badminton days. But alas! Nowadays, I hardly hear about the game of ball badminton or see this wonderful game played anywhere.

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