This month marks the pinnacle of badminton season. Both my kids play and so the last 2 months in particular have been busy with extra practices and tournaments. This isn’t the first competitive sport they’ve played, but it’s my favorite. Badminton seems to be devoid of a lot of the other BS that happens with other sports, and that makes me happy.
So here are my top ten reasons I love badminton:
10) Take it or leave it. My eldest belongs to Badminton Nova Scotia. The season actually runs from October to May, with approximately one tournament a month, many of which are in the capital region or within an hour’s drive. You don’t need to participate in every tournament, and you compete as individuals, not as a club as a whole. So if you miss a tournament, you’re not there, but you’re not letting your club down. You just sign up for the next one. I think my daughter has missed two tournaments this year, and both were because she had other events happening the same weekend with drama. No biggie.
9) Relaxed atmosphere. The games are competitive, but the people are fun and pretty chill when they’re off the court. The kids usually sit as a team when they’re not playing, cheer each other on, joke around.
8) Low cost. The whole year costs just over $300. If you’ve ever paid sport fees, you know that’s not a lot, particularly for a full 8 months. Tournament fees are generally $15 for the first event, and $5 each additional event. So even if your kid does singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, it’s $25. Granted, eldest got new shoes this year ($100) and a new racket ($200) and there is the cost of shuttles because they use feather, but it’s still not an expensive sport for a year. Plus there are typically prizes at tournaments. She’s come home with Yonex clothing and posters and grip.
7) The moms. There are two moms in particular who I love hanging with. One I’ve known for years – her son and my daughter have been good friends since elementary school. The other is the mom of my daughter’s mixed partner, who I just met this year and who is awesome and funny and reads romance novels like a crack addiction. Need I say more? I don’t get out much socially, so hanging around the gym in my yoga pants and having coffee with these ladies is actually kind of a treat.
6) The coaches. All of the coaches I’ve been associated with have been awesome, working with the kids on skills but also relaxed, fun, and emphasize being competitive without stressing the kids out.
5) A short school season: the school season begins first of March and ends mid-April. Basically six weeks and you’re done. And since club runs all year, it’s really just that six weeks where things bottleneck, and it’s only briefly. My eldest plays both club and school; my youngest does school and might be doing club next year.
4) Tournaments vs games. One of the key differences between badminton and, say, volleyball (because that’s the other sport we have a lot of experience with) is that there are no league games. With volleyball (and basketball, rugby, any of those team sports), you might have 1-2 games a week at different schools through the season. Badminton is just tournaments and the school tournaments happen during school time/right after school so it doesn’t eat up your weekend. Depending on your group, you’ll do zones/counties/regionals/provincials and you’re done. A maximum of four days.
3) Grilled Cheese. It’s like a ritual: grilled cheese at tournaments. Usually the canteen is put on by the local club as a fundraiser. Grilled cheese is like a tournament staple.
2) No funky or expensive uniforms. Sometimes there are team shirts. I pay a uniform deposit for my eldest’s school shirt, and she wears black shorts.
1) And finally: It’s a game for everyone. I used to play ages ago and still think about getting back into it. A few of the tournaments are “OPENS” which are A and B divisions and not divided by age group. Two of my daughter’s favorite games this season were when she and her partner played against teams in their 30′s and 40′s. One beat them, they beat the other team, but the game was characterized by smiling, compliments on good plays on both sides of the net, and fun. Next year, my husband and I might try one or I’ve considered playing with one of the coaches. Whenever I’ve helped with practice, we’ve had a ball.
Is there a sport you played or your kids play that you particularly enjoy (or don’t enjoy?)?