Did you know that even with only two players, badminton can be a team sport?
I grew up in the Green Mountains of Vermont, where every day was a windy day. My younger brother and I enjoyed playing badminton on occasion, normally with an imaginary net since the real one was in bad shape and a pain to set up.
At first, it seemed that we were doomed to dull and frustrating games. Wherever our athletic ineptitude failed to perform as anticipated, the wind finished up by taking the birdie where neither of us had directed it. It was a game of hit-and-fetch, and that gets old fast.
So we changed the rules, turning a two-person badminton game into a team sport. We had one goal: see how long we could keep the birdie in the air. If it hit the ground, we both lost. If we kept bouncing it back and forth successfully, we both won. We actually had more fun than when we played by the rules!
Botetourt is a sports-loving county. It’s one area where I feel a bit out of place. I did farm chores instead of sports as a kid, and even my sports-playing cousins down the road happily ditched the rules when they played with us. If you’re familiar with Calvinball from the “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strip, that’s about how it worked – we made up whatever rules we wanted and made liberal use of our imaginations. With that upbringing, properly-played sports games still have little appeal to me personally.
Yet I also understand that with the right coach and environment, sports turn into life training practice. Kids learn how to cooperate together in pursuit of a common goal, to work hard for what they want, to lose gracefully and win humbly, to function within specific guidelines to ensure fairness for all, and to form relationships with other people in their community. Oh, and to have fun!
COVID-19 has interrupted Botetourt’s sports tradition this year, a necessary but disappointing change. If you’ve been watching the news, then you already know that the libraries partnered with Parks and Recreation to offer free rentals of sports gear so that kids could keep playing on their own.
With holidays approaching, you may be wondering how you’re going to have safe family gatherings during a pandemic. Maybe you’re not traveling to see family at all this year, breaking long-standing traditions.
So start a new tradition – playing sports together! If you don’t have the right equipment, check with the library. If you still don’t have all the right gear or enough players, no big deal – make up your own game with new rules. Our hope at the libraries is that families will get fresh air and exercise both their bodies and imaginations. Even better, we hope that the games you play as a family will draw you all closer together this holiday season.
P.S. Don’t let bad weather get in the way. We loan puzzles and board games, too!
Botetourt County Libraries