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by Fred Finicky

A Snippet of Rob's experience of life in Korea


A friend of mine by the name of Robert taught English in Iksan, South Korea. During his stay there, he attended a church near the train station. While attending this church he met a lady by the name of Mrs Lee. In order to get more foreigners to attend church, some members of this church , including Mrs Lee, decided to get a social badminton evening going.

So, one Sunday, Robert and a number of other Foreign English Teachers, as well as some of the Korean members of this church went to a nearby gymnasium. They played a few matches and had a bit of fun.

The following Sunday, everybody who was interested in participating was welcome to return. That turned out to be Rob and a fellow from New Zealand called Mick. A Korean and Rob and another Korean and Mick teamed up and played a few sets. Rob said it was too bad that a few of the other foreigners didn't turn up because everybody seemed to have enjoyed playing the previous Sunday.

On the third Sunday Rob turned up at 7 p.m. and he was the only foreigner there. Rob ended up having a hit up against Mrs Lee . Eventually they played a match which Rob ended up winning quite comfortably. Mrs Lee seemed to really enjoy the match though and they decided to play the following Tuesday.

The diminutive Mrs Lee's game improved gradually until one evennig she beat Rob. Mick happened to be there and said that the match was very entertaining because of the way Mrs Lee celebrated winning a point. Particularly if she won one of the more strongly contested points.

It didn't bother Rob too much that Mrs Lee had beaten him, it was just a game after all. However, her confidence seemed to soar.

They played again a couple of days later and she won again, this time by a bigger margin. She was very elated, just as she'd been the previous Tuesday. The thing was, she won more convincingly this time.

Over the next couple of weeks, even though Rob's weight dropped a little and his game improved gradually, he was unable to win. Mrs Lee, although humble in victory, was delighted with this series of outcomes. Rob could sense it.

Rob talked to Mick about this and he said that he hadn't won too many matches from day one and said I shouldn't worry too much about it. Aftet all, it's just a game.

Rob was on his own. He needed to find a strategy. It was only two days until the next match.

He came up with a strategy which, although simple, would hopefully be effective. Rob reckoned it depended upon his execution of the plan.

Before the next match, they commenced to warm up . After about five minutes, Mrs Lee asked Rob if he'd like to begin. Rob told her he had a bit of a back strain and needed to warm up a little more. This pattern continued for quite some time. As the warm up continued, Rob grimaced while trying to return her difficult drop shots, but didn't actually try to get them. This was to try to conserve energy. When Mrs Lee hit the shuttlecock over Rob's head he'd turn and appear to try to return them but still focus on conserving his energy. Occasionally he exclaimed " Oh no ! " even before the shuttlecock was at a returnable height. Fortunately Mrs Lee didn't become suspicious.

Eventually Mrs Lee looked nearly spent and Rob suggested that they commence. After a momentous struggle, Rob managed to scrape a win.

" What do you think of that, Mick " Rob asked Mick the next day.

" Well, you won eventually. But don't you think that the victory was a bit hollow? " Mick replied.

" I mean when you consider the way you went about it " Mick continued.

" Not really. I didn't even warm up properly ! " Came Rob's sheepish reply.


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18 September , 2005