Badminton Birdie Defends the Back Corner
Welcome net fans to this morning’s hushed and reverential broadcast from The All England Lawn Badminton, Horseshoes and Cornhole Club in the London Borough of Milton! We are in the final round of the Badminton Doubles Championship, with today’s charming chiquitas competing for that famed sterling silver salver known the world over as the “Birdbathwater Dish”.
(A scheduling note: the beginning of this year’s avidly awaited Horseshoes Quarterfinals has been postponed for two days, due to the unseasonable recent rains and resultant mire and muck of the horseshoe pits. Cornhole Playoff Rounds 1 through 3 will be held later today at the posted times, along the perimeter of the east parking lot, allowing plentiful room for the apparently essential accompaniment of roisterous drinking, opponent baiting and tailgate partying.)
In the late morning sunshine of this glorious July Sunday, we are gathered round the pristine emerald ryegrass lawn of Centre Court (with, I might add, a prime view across to the Royal Box and the expected arrival of Will & Kate), as the final contenders enter the venue. Here we see the United States’ Beyoncé ‘Badminton Birdie’ Bunsell, defending her back corner against the expected initial strong serve from her opponent, Gracie Grackle of the UK. Fleshing out the doubles teams are fellow American forward Juniper Jay, or J-J, as she prefers to be known, and, across the net, young Rebecca Bay Redbreast from Manchester (she of the deadly downcorner drop-shot).
These two teams of stellar female fowl are also competing in this final match for prize winnings in excess of 200,000 British pounds. (That’s not just bird feed, mate!) We wish good luck to all four athletes, as the referees run through their final inspection of the Court.
While we await the start of today’s match, now just moments away, let us briefly review the history and heritage of this renowned tournament. Begun in 1878 — just one year after the inception of the nearby and almost as famous Wimbledon Tennis Championships — this competition had its roots, unfortunately, in the All Nobles & Peers Annual Goshawk Hunt & Skeet Shoot. In that event, most avian entrants found themselves taking some pretty fierce shots, and not one of them sprung from a racquet (though those shots were certainly accompanied by some awful deadly racket, ha-ha!).
Within just a few decades, however, it became apparent that the ranks of the most able athletes of the bird world were being considerably thinned (to put it delicately). And, as Nobles and Peers continued to decline in esteem and respect in the eyes of their countrymen, the idea of a bunch of tweed-wearing fuddies in trilby hats and handlebar mustaches popping off rounds to slaughter the helpless, to the ‘huzzah’s and ‘cheerio’s of their look-alikes, grew quite wearying and unsavory.
So the AN&PAGH&SS and its convening farmstead, forest, grounds, fauna and ruling body were thence collectively incorporated and reborn as The All England Lawn Badminton, Horseshoes and Cornhole Club. By the turn of the 1900s, the competitions held here at TAELBH&CC became the Britannic and world leader in midsummer athletics tournaments.
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