Club Corner: High School Badminton Club

Andrea Wunderlich '13, Staff Writer

Can you name the world's second most popular sport? The answer may surprise you: It's badminton.

One of the great attractions of badminton is its accessibility. The activity can be enjoyed by players of all ages and ability levels. With approximately 220 million international players each year, it is only less popular than soccer. 

Did you know that the racket sport also has the distinction of being one of the fastest-moving athletic activities? The game's most aggressive shot, the smash, can exceed speeds of 400 km/h—significantly faster than a tennis serve, a Formula 1 car, a skydiver, or even a downhill skier.

Competitive badminton has a level of speed and intensity that many would not predict. High School Badminton Coach Mary Davenport acknowledges that the game is usually considered a "tame" sport. It often evokes images of uncoordinated children recklessly swinging their rackets around at a family garden party. “People think it’s one thing, but it’s actually something completely different,” she says. “That’s one thing I love about badminton. How it defies expectations.” 

At Graded, 16 high school students play at the varsity level. This November, they will compete in the school's first-ever badminton tournament. Ms. Davenport is ecstatic about the growing interest in the sport. She believes that badminton offers Graded students a sense of belonging. Sophomore Julia P. agrees, saying she joined the group because she “wanted to be part of a team but didn’t enjoy the other sports offered." After watching badminton during the Olympics, she decided to try it and fell in love with the sport. 

Like tennis, badminton may be played with or without a partner. With badminton, there is no waiting on the sidelines while your team plays without you. To senior Minjae K., this is one of the most appealing aspects of the sport. “With other team sports, you don’t get to actively play as much. In badminton, you play the whole time. I love it.” Minjae enjoys the activity so much that he has become an avid advocate of the sport. “I first joined the club because a friend of mine dragged me to a practice session. Since then, I have dragged many other friends to practices, and they have all joined the team.” 

Badminton has taught junior Rafael C. that skill is just as important as stamina. According to him, “good footwork is the most challenging aspect of badminton.” While opportunities exist for players to push themselves to a competitive level, badminton soars in popularity due to it’s accessibility for people of all ages and skill levels. “It’s really easy to get into,” claims Minjae, “and there are countless opportunities to practice and develop your skills."