Say it ain’t so Yu Yang

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Will the 2012 Summer Olympics be remembered in history as the Olympics mired in badminton controversy? Will our grandchildren someday ask us where we were when the scandal broke? What could be going on behind the closed doors of the Badminton World Federation? And when the hell did a backyard game become an Olympic sport?
I remember my dad setting up a badminton set in our backyard. Several dads in the neighborhood did the same. The aluminum poles with the mesh net between them were stuck in the ground, one side always higher than the other and our parents would hand us a skinny version of a tennis racket. Along with our flimsy rackets we were presented with a plastic cone shaped thingamabob, which they told us was called a birdie.
We were given preliminary instructions as to the object of the game and they went back to whatever it was they were doing before we interrupted them by saying we were bored. Had I known it was or was to become an Olympic sport I may have taken it more seriously. But instead I used it as a way to “accidentally” smack my brother in the head. He got a couple whacks in himself but now I’m not ashamed to say I started it, because the statute of limitations is long gone on mom grounding me. We never wore helmets back then but if there were ever cause to wear one it would have been for badminton. Once the birdie and the spare birdies were on the roof, we used the skinny tennis rackets to swat flies. Then they became guns to fight in the epic neighborhood battle of boys versus girls.
Needless to say badminton wasn’t taken seriously then but apparently it is now. So much so that alleged cheating is involved and there actually is a Badminton World Federation. You could knock me over with a plastic birdie feather when I read that in the headlines.
I don’t know what type of training goes into making it to the top of the badminton world. But I’ve watched some of the 2012 Olympics and I’ve watched the Olympics in the past. I’ve seen the sacrifices and intense training these athletes go through to make it to the level of their sport that most can only dream to achieve. Why cheat? Whether it’s taking drugs or throwing a game, why cheat? Does it make you prouder to stand on that podium with a gold medal around your neck listening to your countries National Anthem knowing you cheated?



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