Season 2003/2004 draws to a close and all the fun of late night matches in tiny one-court village halls is replaced by a few hours of gardening a week and the occasional walk along Bridlington seafront.
Those of us lucky enough to be injury free at the end of the season might, at this very moment, be planning summer activities to fill the badminton void but the less fortunate, injured souls have got nothing to look forward to – unless you count the excitement of Euro 2004 that is! But don’t waste time taking pity on yourselves because you’ve got to feel sorry for those footballers, haven’t you? They must play at least 6 games a month, plus training, then there are the endless photo shoots and marketing opportunities – not to mention the regular trips to ‘Ferrari World’ for the latest pininfarina number. My heart bleeds; just as ‘Posh’ thinks she’ll have ‘Becks’ home for the summer, he jets off to Portugal for a few more games and a sledging from the press (I think that they should replace their names on the back of their shirts with the phrase ‘Red top cannon fodder’!) So, when Gary Linekar smiles that smile and introduces the first match for your enjoyment, try not to moan at the players as they stand there miming to a national anthem they don’t know all the words to! Feel sorry for them – they might be feeling a little tired.
In all honesty, squeezing a tournament into a few summer months is probably a bit taxing, physically. Soon, as more and more sports turn professional, the perennial argument regarding the timetabling of extra-curricular competitions will reach such a point that something will have to be done. Even at the bottom of the competition ladder (for example, the South East Worthing Regional Mixed Division VII) we tend to feel the physical strain put upon us by poorly timetabled league matches, tournaments and club nights. How many times have you muttered obscenities towards the ‘Match Secretary’ for booking three matches between Christmas and New Year and leaving the next three weeks completely match free?
So, what if we are a bit tired? What are the risks of a bit of ‘badminton burnout’? The simple answer is the reason why ‘physical medicine’ was recently tipped as the boom industry for the new millennium – INJURY. The very word that makes us mortal sports people shudder with fear whilst, simultaneously, causing the NHS budget for the next twelve months to flinch in preparation for the burden that it will be have to undertake.
Quite literally, take your pick – chose any joint in the body, any tendon, even a dreaded ligament and if it is prone to injury or has previously demonstrated weakness, the chances of a serious problem developing are extremely high. The body needs time to heal, and a gruelling, uneven timetable of league matches juxtaposed with the odd club night and a trip to the gym could just be enough to transform a nagging, intermittently painful knee cartilage into a full-blown tear the renders it’s owner unable to walk down stairs or bend the knee any more than 75 degrees.
So, lets have a new season resolution – get the powers that be to schedule matches evenly and try and aim for, at least, one clear day between hard exercise.