Badminton Club Smashes Birdies in the Cold
By PEIYU JIANG
On a cold windy Tuesday, with the temperature below 30 degrees, brave, badminton-loving Hornets hurried outside, rackets in hand, ready to smash the birdie at their opponent. This is the typical Badminton Club meeting.
The club meets on Tuesday, period 10, in the playground across the street, although it gets windy at times. Unlike a sports team, signing up for the club doesn’t require any tryout or skill at badminton. You just need a permission slip signed by your parent and a GO card to receive credit.
“I recommend this club because you can play a sport with your friends without competitions and tryouts,” said Abby Lee ’21, who joined the club in October. “I used to do a lot of athletic activities but stopped because of school work. Now I can stay fit right after school hours.”
The club began in October 2018. It consists of many students from different grades and skill levels. Some students have a good grasp of direction, speed, and strength of the birdie, while others have never held racquets and are trying hard to make the birdie fight against the uncontrolled wind for the first time.
“It is a friendly environment because a lot of people play with you even you don’t know how to play,” said Faria Farid ’20. “You can relax after your day of school, and you will never feel lonely.”
The club provides more benefits than just receiving credits. The purpose of the club is to try to unite students with this shared athletic interest. The club creates a community for students who are experts in badminton as well as those who want to improve their skills. It also provides a chance to socialize.
“I feel like I’m learning how to hit the birdie further because, since it’s outdoors, we have to take the wind into account,” said Tracy Shi ’21. “It also helps to relieve stress since it distracts me from academics for a little bit.”
“Practice makes perfect,” said Isha Hasan ’20. “There was this moment where all my friends almost fell to the ground, almost hurting themselves, just to save the birdie.”
The club allows students to eventually hold internal friendly competitions. Later on, there may be huge competitions, either in parks or in professional badminton clubs. The purpose is not to put pressure on to students’ extracurricular life, but to try to generate some excitement among members and to change things up after a while.
“We want our club members to have a fun and exciting experience,” said Kayla Wu ’19, who is the founder and president of the club. “I hope that our club acts as a temporary escape from the pressures of school.”
Wu and her teammate Evelyn Velez ’19, who is the club’s treasurer, have experienced challenges from the beginning. When there wasn’t enough equipment to go around, they had to have people take turns, playing short practice games in small groups.
“At first, when there weren’t any rackets, some very innovative people used folders as replacements, and they worked quite well,” Velez said.
The supervisor of Badminton club, Ms. Natalia Puglisi, now brings plenty of racquets for the students. Wu also encourages the students to bring their own racquets and share with each other.
“It’s been both a fun and difficult experience,” said Wu. “It’s very rewarding to see everyone enjoying their time playing badminton, but there are also hardships that come with the experience. For example, it was challenging searching for an ideal location for our club members to meet.”
Making a badminton team isn’t really on Midwood’s agenda, especially since it’s the first year of the club. To participate in a PSAL Badminton Team, they need to first find out if Midwood has funding and if enough people are willing to play. In the past, the last badminton club tried to start a team but was set back because of the lack of funds.
“As a group, I’m sure my fellow club leaders agree that we want to leave a solid and well-established club when we graduate,” said Velez. “That’s why right now we are focused on getting more equipment to be owned by the club so people who don’t have equipment can play. Maybe next semester we will do more than one period.”
Club members say that badminton helps players deal with failure and learn the value of small successes.
“When you encounter hardships in life, never give up,” said Wu. “Pick yourself up like your birdie, and keep persevering.”
If you’re interested in joining the club, show up at the playground across from Midwood Tuesday period 10, and remember to bring your racket if you have one.