Can’t Duel A Man Who Duals

, , , , , | Learning | December 6, 2019

(This is a conversation I had with my friend and our senior over dinner. We are discussing hobbies and [Senior] mentions that he likes playing badminton.)

Friend: “Why aren’t you part of the badminton club if you play every week?”

Senior: “They wouldn’t let me in.”

Me: “Why not? Did you ask them?”

Senior: “I didn’t bother. I know they won’t.”

(I’m a bit puzzled as the badminton club isn’t competitive or anything. It’s more for learning how to play.)

Me: “Why not?”

Senior: “The thing is, back when I was a kid, I had this weirdo for a badminton coach and she taught me to play badminton completely wrongly.”

Me: “Wrongly? What did she do?”

(I’m thinking that my senior was maybe taught to hold the racquet wrongly or something minor like that.)

Senior: *looking slightly embarrassed* “Well… let’s just say I only found out last– Oh, wait. Two years ago now — that you were only supposed to use one racquet in badminton.”

(I trade incredulous looks with [Friend] and simply say the first thing that comes to my mind.)

Me: “What?”

Senior: “I’m serious.”

Me: *struggling to comprehend* “So… you play by dual-wielding racquets?”

Senior: “Yes.”

Friend: “I’ve seen him play. He’s actually really good.”

Me: “But– but two racquets?”

Senior: “Yeah. I hold the right one in reverse grip and hold the left one normally.”

(I’m completely and totally befuddled at what he told me, my mind struggling to comprehend what I have been told. Incidentally, my friend is still completely fine and not weirded out.)

Friend: “Have you tried using just one?”

Senior: “Yeah, but I always wind up slapping the shuttlecock with my other hand. Muscle memory.”

Me: *somewhat absently* “Ah, yeah. That’s understandable.”

(I’m wondering how the h*** his badminton coach became a coach in the first place, how the h*** she got hired by my senior’s parents, and how the h*** my senior, a straight-A, highly intelligent, mature, and sensible eighteen-year-old, didn’t notice that badminton was meant to be played with only one racquet until he was sixteen. When I asked him on a later date his answers were, “I’ll tell you when I find out,” “She was a family friend,” and, “I’m an idiot.” respectively.)

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A Totally Organ-ic Reaction

, , , | Related | November 25, 2019

(My younger son is nigh obsessed with hockey. He is, therefore, completely stoked to land a part-time job at a local hockey arena, which happens to also be the practice arena for the local NHL team. I am helping him fill out the tax forms and work permit paperwork.)

Me: *jokingly* “Make sure you read it carefully. You don’t want to find out you’ve signed up to be an organ donor for [NHL team] or something.”

Son: *considering for a moment* “It would have to depend on the organ. I mean if [Favorite NHL Player] needed a kidney, I’d totally be okay with that.”

(Is Hockeyism a religion?)

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Don’t Lacrosse This Coach

, , , , , , , | Learning | October 17, 2019

For high school, my parents sent me to a “prestigious” New England boys’ boarding prep school, henceforth known as “PNEBBPS”. Years of therapy later, I am ready to share some of the experiences therein.

PNEBBPS had multiple rules; teachers were called “Masters” and had to be addressed as “Sir” at all times, coat and tie had to be worn for meals and classes, and the like. It also had strict prohibitions against smoking and alcohol use. Smoking got you suspension for the first occurrence and expulsion on the second, and drinking was an automatic expulsion. About once a month, the headmaster got up at lunch and announced a suspension or expulsion related to these rules.

At PNEBBPS, our big sport was lacrosse and no other team was close in stature or record. Going into my third year, the team was coming off an unbeaten season and our returning captain had set a league scoring record as a junior. Alas, in late fall he got caught drinking and things looked bad. But…

The lacrosse coach had started the sport at the school, was on the disciplinary committee, and was very influential. When the punishment for the culprit was announced, surprise surprise, it was for the winter term only, meaning he’d be back in time for lacrosse season. It was the only time a drinking violation got less than expulsion in my four years there. For the record, we had another excellent season with the captain breaking his own scoring record.

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It’s Impossible To Win With Dad

, , , , | Related | September 22, 2019

(My father is on the couch watching college football when I get home. Side note: to be completely fair, I don’t really get sports or sports culture, but our family has always rooted for this particular team.)

Father: “[Our Team] sucks.”

Me: “Oh? Why?”

Father: “They were forecast to win this game by seventeen points and they just won in overtime.”

Me: “So, you’re mad because they didn’t win how you wanted them to?”

(He did not understand how this was strange.)

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Streaming Into The Future

, , , , | Right | September 13, 2019

(I am picking up a few items at the grocery store on the day of the final game of a championship series featuring a local sports team. The checker is trying to make small talk while ringing me up.)

Checker: “You watching the game tonight?”

Me: “Nope.”

(Surprised, the checker goes down the line asking whether other people are planning on watching it.)

Customer #1: “Nope.”

Customer #2: *shakes head*

Customer #1: “I don’t even have cable, so I can’t!”

Checker: *shocked* “What?!”

Customer #1: “I made her squeak. I think I win!”

Me: “Yeah, I cut the cord about four years ago, myself.”

Checker: “How do you even live like that?”

Customer #1 & Me: *simultaneously* “Amazon!”

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