Herin sits quietly, wiping the sweat that dripping over her face and arms. She has just finished a mixed doubles match against Yuta and Nina. Her breath was still panting after winning three games. Unlike her partner, Jeno still hits the goose feathers agilely on the A court. Herin circulates her gaze and stop at the next court where the kids were getting drill by Coach.
“Good job, Kevin. Hit a bit harder!”
Kevin tries to move his small foot quickly to reach the shuttlecock then tries to swing his racket harder. As shuttlecock on the coach’s left arm began to decrease, Kevin’s foot speed also decrease. However, he manages to finish the drill. Holding his stomach, Kevin walked out of the court. His mouth opens a little taking a breath. Herin smiles when looking at the boy.
She remembers when playing on the court that marked by letter B, where Kevin practiced. Herin stood rigidly and Mr. Jem was on the other side, began to flying the shuttlecock towards her. She tried to chase wherever the shuttlecock goes, although her strokes sometimes missed. Then Mr. Jem stopped hitting the shuttlecock and approached her.
“Keep your grip like that, okay?”
After all the children got the drill, Coach divides them into pairs to play doubles. A boy who is a bit chubby than Kevin, come to him. They raise their palms and do hi-five.
“Oh, no. Mr. Jem, why should I be her teammate?”
"It’s okay, Jeno. It’s only a practice."
The expression of disappointment was still written on his face, even Herin who saw him began to pout. While playing, Herin often made mistakes and Jeno will immediately scolded her. When the shuttlecock flew high above her head, she looked up ready to hit but waiting for the shuttlecock to drop lower. She didn’t realize that the court lights were so bright and blurred her eyesight. Then, the shuttlecock fell right on her face. Yuta and Nina who were watching across the net laughed amusedly. While Jeno just sighed and rolled his eyes.
One by one the people left the stadium, leaving Herin and Jeno who are still sitting on the edge of the court. Not long after that, Jeno stands up and has tidied his bag.
"Let’s go home! I’m waiting outside, okay?"
Herin smiles at him then put her equipments in the bag. In the parking lot, she sees Jeno chatting with a boy. She walks toward them. The boy’s figure become clear, he is Kevin. Herin smiles again and her memory takes her back to reminiscing her old days.
“Hey, why are you crying?”
Uncle Jowo asked little Herin, but she didn’t answer.
He rubbed her back softly, “What’s wrong, my dear?”
“I’m sad because I can’t play as good as my friends”
“Oh dear. It’s okay, it is natural to feel that way because you are a new member. Jeno, Yuta and Nina have already trained here ever since they were 7. They also can’t hit the shuttlecock back then, even Jeno always fall while chasing them. Now they are 8 and you too! I believe if you don’t give up and practice more, you can be a very great player. May be more than Mr. Jem?”
Herin giggled and hugged him “Thank you, Uncle”
Word Count: 550