The Wows and Woes of winter | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 31, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:40 PM, February 04, 2017

The Wows and Woes of winter

I hate winter but if there is one thing that can make us desert our cocoon of warmth and comfort under a heavy quilt, it is badminton. Playing the game on sodium bulb-lit streets with the sweet smell of 'bhapa pitha' wafting from a nearby home is a scene we are familiar with. Yet, for most of us there is more to this sport than the plunge of rackets and loss of countless corks.

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Badminton is a sport that highlights skill and dexterity over brute strength. Yet when is the last time you can recall going out in the field or the street to enjoy a good game with your racket and shuttlecock? 

Residing in a male-dominated society, the number of women playing badminton is still relatively low, despite the immense popularity of the sport among both genders.  Once winter arrives, we are over-enthusiastic to hit the streets and showcase our hidden talent based on agility and speed. Nevertheless, often the discouraging remarks from the other gender and even our own forestall us from ever being seen in a badminton court. 

Have you ever wondered why such a notion continues to exist in society, today? Is it the age old misconception that sports are only for men? Why is it so difficult to accept that females are equally capable of playing sports and even excelling in them? People such as Sania Mirza, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova have carved their names in history from playing sports. Whereas, the girls in our society still cannot receive an environment safe and welcoming enough to play badminton. 

It was only a few days back when my friend was sharing how the boys in her apartment building play badminton on the street, while she watches quietly from her balcony. In doing so she is filled with both awe and envy. The amazement comes from admiring the beauty of how the sport can be both physically and spiritually relaxing. It helps to reduce stress and is a great way to socialise. The envy is due to the unsettling fact that she, like the rest of us, is deprived of such opportunity.

While I sit back , my racket remains untouched, gathering dust from another passing day of winter. But, tomorrow is a new day with renewed spirit and hope maybe I will finally take my racket out for a spin beneath the starry night of Dhaka city. I hope you do too.

By Mayesha Raidah

Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed

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