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The service ace bows out

November 27, 2014

Badminton

The service ace bows out

By: Maxime Prévost Durand

The dean of the Club de badminton de Saint-Hyacinthe, Jacques Nichols, hung up his racket. At 88, he would have liked to pursue the sport he loves so much for a few more years. But his body speaks to him. “And I have to listen to him, because he talks to me loudly,” he says regretfully, but with a smile.

Since he was 20, Mr. Nichols has played badminton every week. In recent years, he continued to practice sports twice a week, playing in two leagues at the Club de badminton de Saint-Hyacinthe.

“When I turned 85, I wondered if I was continuing or if I was stopping. But I was still in good shape! I told myself that I would try to play until I was 90. »

But he fell victim to a virus last year that drained his energy and forced him to quit. “I don’t like the way I quit. I would still like to, but I am no longer able,” he says with disappointment. He was the only active player, until recently, to be a member of the Club de badminton de Saint-Hyacinthe since it was founded in 1976.

Although he was older than all the other members and that previous injuries to his arms, which have since healed, prevented him from playing in power, Jacques Nichols still had more than one trick up his sleeve. His serve, in this case, has always annoyed his opponents.

“That’s what benefited me. I had damn good serve that was annoying everyone. They never knew where he was going. I no longer had a big smash, but I compensated with thinner games. I was doing well with my serves and net shots. I always played to win. »

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Forced to stop in September 2013 because of the famous virus, he tried to rejoin the league at the start of the year, but the strength was gone. ” I miss it. I was 88, but I felt at least 15 years younger than people my age. It was a source of pride, not so much because I was still playing badminton, but because I felt fit compared to people my age. »

an active man

Since he was very young, Mr. Nichols has always been active, practicing different sports. Alpine skiing, hockey, tennis, baseball, running, he practiced them all.

He remembers, as a teenager, having ordered a book from a bodybuilder in the United States offering exercises to be done without a device, a question of getting in shape. He also played lunch hour hockey at school. And the habit of moving never left him.

At the age of 54, he ran his first three marathons, in Ottawa, Île d’Orléans and Montreal, all three in the same summer! He then continued to run every day until his retirement at the age of 65.

But badminton, he never stopped, even after all these years. Did he see himself playing that long? “Pantoute! “, he says with a smile. But as long as he could, he fueled hitting the shuttlecock with the string of his racquet.

“Sometimes in the winter when it was 25 below zero, I would put on my shorts to go out there and I was like, ‘Damn I’ll be fine at home’, but when I came back, I was like that I had done well to go there. When I went to bed I was dead tired, but I got up the next day and was fine. For him to miss an evening of badminton, the hour had to be serious. He will have been a true example of diligence over the years.

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Now that he’s hung up his racquet, Mr. Nichols has gifted his equipment to a family member so he can experience the thrill of playing badminton as well. The Nichols imprint still exists in this wonderful sport!

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