Every few weeks The Bates Student covers one club out of the nearly one hundred clubs on campus. This week, we’re covering the Badminton Club which meets every Sunday at 4:30 p.m. in the Gray Cage. Though club meetings are casual and always welcome to new players, the club’s members are looking to test their competitive chops in the next year.
Meetings generally start with setting up nets and to retrieving the equipment. Players warm up by rallying back and forth before playing games in pairs or one-on-one. According to Eric Feng ’20, one of the club’s presidents, the club meetings are very relaxed.
“I played badminton competitively when I was in high school, but we don’t have that kind of vibe here. It’s just a casual thing,” said Feng.
While Feng does have a competitive background in badminton, the overall club is made up mostly of players who discovered badminton far more recently. According to Feng, about 70 percent of new members have never played Badminton before in their life. The club takes the time to let more inexperienced players learn skills.
“We usually have two courts where people are playing games and one court where we’re teaching them [new players] how to play,” said Feng.
Member Morgan Baxter ’20 echoed Feng’s sentiments about the welcoming nature of the Badminton Club. Baxter played badminton when he was in middle school in Japan, where the sport is more popular than in the United States. He stepped away from badminton for several years until joining the club, however. Baxter said that the club has been great to use as a “study break on a Sunday afternoon.”
“Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been playing for years, there’s something for everyone,” said Baxter.
The club currently only has interteam competitions; however, it is looking to change that next year. Many of the other NESCAC scbools have badminton clubs as well, and the Bates club has allotted money in its budget to potentially invite them to Lewiston for a tournament.
“Starting next year we’re going to get some NESCAC connections, hopefully get enough interest for a tournament. Hopefully people are willing to make the trip up,” said Feng.
Playing badminton requires a specific kind of racquet as well as a shuttlecock, a plastic sphere with a cone of mesh coming out from behind it. Players hit the shuttlecock over a net and attempt to get their opponents on the other side of the net to miss, which results in a point. The first player to score twenty one points is the winner. The dimensions of a badminton court vary slightly depending on whether a singles or doubles game is being played.
According to the Olympic website for the sport, modern Badminton was developed in England in the late nineteenth century, but was heavily influenced by an Indian game called Poona. The sport is named after Badminton House, a property of the English Duke who is credited with first introducing Poona to England. Today, the sport is played worldwide and is especially popular in parts of Asia.