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28 August, 2014
The love of badminton gives people a passport to a world with a magical feeling – an enchanting game of racket and shuttlecock which attracts special people everywhere who have this feeling in their hearts. One of my chief badminton regrets is that I was not present at the inaugural tournament in 1899, for it would have been pleasant to hold a complete record for the series, but actually I did not start to play the game until the winter of 1899-1900. It was in my first season when a fellow member of the Southsea Club whose prospective partner had failed him, persuaded me to enter with him in the doubles. I did so with a degree of trepidation becoming in a novice, but as luck would have it – thanks to a small entry, a bye, and the very obliging play of our first opponents – we reached the semi-finals, before being well and truly dealt with by the ultimate winners, S. Collier and H.L. Mellersh. It was not possible to mark out the courts overnight, and using paint or whitewash would have resulted in a glorious mess. So when I turned up at the hall I found a couple of committee men putting the finishing touches to the lines with chalk. Needless to say these needed frequent repairs in the course of the day, and though they were moderately straight at the start they were definitely wayward at the end. There were four courts in a row, the one at each end being overhung for about half the width by a gallery so low that the shuttles were constantly hitting it, though the vogue for high clearing had not yet become established.