“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness…” Charles Dickens
Arriving at the pre-tournament briefings and meeting new faces (many at the Dutch International in April 2019) and old friends (many at the French Open in October 2018) … it was the best of times.
Leaving the court at the end of my final match at the French, knowing that I have just completed my career as a BWF Certificated umpire, and walking onto court for my first match at the Dutch realising that I was downgraded two levels … it was the worst of times.
Advising an umpire at the French on next steps in his career path (he’s just passed his BWF Accreditation in China) and an umpire at the Dutch on some tweaks to fine-tune his performance before his assessment for BWF Certification … it was the age of wisdom.
Realising that I look like a creepy weirdo on television, standing behind the mixed doubles finals players at the French with the button on the back pocket of my trousers firmly hooked on the net because I walked too close to the net after the formal player introductions … it was the age of foolishness.
Having my Eurotunnel train delayed for 3 hours because another train hit a boar on the tracks ahead (must have been a boar that Obelix was carrying for it to stop a whole train for 3 hours!) and arriving in London past midnight to find that the Eurotunnel people did the right thing and arranged for a personal taxi to drop me off outside my front door … it was the epoch of belief.
Using the fixed height measuring devices again at the French, and finding the calibration as unreliable as ever, but being told the new design is coming soon, only to use the new design at the Dutch (and a few weeks earlier at the All England) and discover that they are just as unreliable … it was the epoch of incredulity.
Heading off to an adjacent bungalow (at the holiday park where the umpires were staying for the Dutch) in the bright morning sunlight for pancakes, according to the tradition of the tournament, expertly made by one of the Dutch umpires … it was the season of light.
The “joy” of being the last to go on court for one of the early rounds of the French, knowing the unofficial law of badminton that the last match always goes to three games and being told by all your smug colleagues to “turn the lights off” when I’m finished … it was the season of darkness.
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.” Charles Dickens