Godzilla rediscovers Badminton

April 14, 2009

The Kid is 13. He is nearly as tall as I and skinny enough that I think he must have to run around in the shower to get wet.

I am, for reasons that are not clear, on the other side of a badminton net from him.

He is beating the crap out of me.

Correction, it’s not a net, but a clothesline, but that’s a quibble. Also, The Kid’s mom is playing beside me. She is a smart lady, and pretty much stays out of my way.

Oh, yeah, I’m a Badminton-playing devil. I am everywhere at once, racquet whistling through the air, my lithe form bounds like a gazelle from one end of the court to the other….

Well, that’s the fantasy. The closest I came to playing badminton like that was the last time I had played it, when I was about the age this kid is now, nearly four decades ago, when dinosaurs walked the Earth.

He’s Sue’s grandson, full of that goofy, manic energy that kids get when they are growing at the rate of about an inch an hour and they’re interested in everything but holding still.

I, on the other hand, am discovering why it is that all those people I see about my health — my trainer, assorted medical professionals and a chiropractor – tell me I need to get out and MOVE more.

Apparently, sometime over the past five or six years I turned to stone, as though I had caught a fleeting glimpse of Medusa as she drove past in her limo. I can move, sure, but it’s less a thing of nerve and sinew than it is a geological process, like watching a mountain erode.

The Kid slams the birdie my way. It comes in high, and then dives for the grass just barely on my side of the clothesline. I see that I am too far back. JUMP! My brain flashes to my body.

“Huh?” My body responds. “Me? NOW? All the way over THERE?”

The birdie lands ingloriously on the grass. I lumber over toward it, bend ever so slowly and pluck it out of the lawn. I am pretty sure I can hear a sound like rusty gate hinges. I turn and lurch toward my corner of the court. I have a clear image in my mind of Godzilla klutzing his way through Tokyo, racquet clenched firmly in his knobby hands.

We play a fast series of volleys, during which I hit the birdie about six times. Two of those hits were accidental. Godzilla flailing at the buzzing fighter planes. Oops, there goes the train station. Yikes! Sorry about that bridge.

During one graceless lunge, I turn my ankle. I am wheezing and wheeling like a drunken buffalo. The Kid finally calls the game by the simple expedience of jumping on the nearby trampoline. He starts bounding and flipping like a spider on a griddle, or a stretched out version of the Energizer Bunny having a seizure.

I see him trying to figure if he can leap from the trampoline to the rope swing hanging from the adjacent tree-house, but it’s too far. I hobble over, clear the rope, and hold it next to the trampoline. His eyes light up. He boings fiercely, then arcs through the air and grabs the knot I have tied halfway up the rope for a hand-hold, and swings out across the lawn, a scrawny Tarzan.

He runs back to the trampoline and shouts that he wants to do it again. I have a brief, mean thought that I could jerk the rope out of the way just as he goes for it, just to be mean.

I don’t, of course. We do the trampoline/rope thing about six times before he lands at a run and takes off for the farm pond, hitting the little aluminum rowboat in a flying leap. I groan and stagger over to stand on the dock and watch. He hooks a bungee cord to the dock and the rear of the boat and laughing, rows hard away from the dock, only to be pulled backwards to where he started.

“This is fun!” he shouts.

“It’s good practice!” I shout back.

He doesn’t get it. He will.
© 2009 Marsh Creek Media, Gettysburg, Pa.
“Burger to Go” is a product of me and my company, Marsh Creek Media and, as such, I am solely responsible for its content.
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