LONDON, UK – While scandal surrounding recent thrown badminton matches is garnering international attention, the hubbub is a temporary distraction from even darker aspects of the popular lawn-party past-time – namely a culture of performance enhancing drug abuse and rampant child exploitation. Although it seems disgraceful to pansy one’s way to losing an early match in order to gain more favorable position later in a tournament, recent revelations are only a hint of the disreputable behaviors hidden behind badminton’s harmless surface.
Badminton athletes use Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) to elevate their game to unprecedented levels, shattering previous shuttlecock serve speeds (which can reach up to 206 mph) and giving world-class athletes a seemingly superhuman dexterity. In a recent high-profile brouhaha, after crushing nearly 23 elite players from around the world with his divine footwork and delicious backhands, popular German Badminton star and global sex symbol Hans Bachenduller was expelled from the International Badminton Association for use of PEDs. Post-game blood tests demonstrated high concentrations of amphetamines and a hematocrit of 72 (nearly 1.5 times a normal) from the use of a blood-doping agent called erythropoietin. In a surprising blow to his public image of unadulterated virulence and untarnished masculinity, he was noted by physicians to have evidence of presumed steroid-induced feminization.
As shocking as it is to see international icons fall from glory, even more disturbing are sporadic reports of underground child badminton rings that have sprouted up through much of Southeast Asia. Allegedly, children as young as 6 years old are forced to play badminton 16-18 hours per day for the benefit of gamblers. Such reports have not been verified, but sound horrid and, if confirmed, would undoubtedly be another stain upon the reputation of badminton.
The sordid subculture of what was once considered the “sport of dukes” has many parents concerned that their children may become involved in Badminton.
“I tried to raise Charles right, but late in high school he started experimenting with Badminton,” cried the mother of one amateur Michigan badminton player. “I couldn’t stop him; he went off to college and got in with the wrong crowd. Before we knew it, he got a badminton birdie tattooed on his tuchus, was stealing money for tournaments, and became romantically involved with a mixed doubles partner that his father and I do not approve of. His forehead’s gotten so big from all that growth hormone he’s taking that I hardly recognize him any more. Worst of all, he’s so juiced up on testosterone injections that I’ll probably never get grandchildren.”
Parents are encouraged to speak frankly with their children about badminton and to be on the lookout for changes in behavior which may suggest badminton involvement. The medical complications of PED use in badminton can be grave. Unfortunately, Charles’ story is all too common. Teens turn to badminton looking for social acceptance and find themselves sucked in to a world of moral depravity and drug culture from which there is no escape. Reportedly, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is pondering a ban on a shuttlecocks in city limits, but it is unclear whether even dramatic measures like this will be able to reverse the malignant cultural squalor being wreaked upon the world by badminton.
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