|Members of RIT's Badminton Club compete during a weekly meet. Photo taken Friday, January 16, 2009.
On a Friday evening, if you navigate into the Student Life Center (SLC), you will pass four courts of basketball or volleyball with swishing racquets and zooming shuttles on the very far court. Up to 16 players at once will be crammed onto the basketball court that is covered with four badminton courts. Yet a lot of students probably don’t know that RIT has a badminton club, let alone a competitive team.
Badminton Club at RIT started two years ago. Coach George Yu helped initiate the beginning of the club. Yu had been a badminton player for a long time, and one day a student interested in playing contacted him. Yu thought that it would be a waste to coach just one person, so a club was formed. Since then, it has grown to over 40 active members.
On Fridays, the play is mostly recreational, but the club’s elite form a club team that competes outside of RIT. This past October, the club team competed in the Rochester Open, and on Saturday, January 24, the team will be playing against a team from Xerox Corporation. The team meets separately from Friday for free-play.
Jonathan Stark, a third year Electrical Engineering Technology major, is the club’s third president. Stark played badminton in a small club in Sweden as he was growing up, and took a break from the sport at age 15 only to resume playing at RIT.
According to Stark, most players in the club have previous experience. Since badminton is more popular in Europe and Asia than it is in the United States, the club has a large amount of players that hail from foreign nations.
Despite many players’ previous experience, Stark says that the club welcomes all newcomers, even if they are brand new to the sport of badminton. One of the club’s goals is “to get more people in RIT to learn more about badminton and play it.” It would be very possible for someone interested to miss the club, since they play in the very back of the SLC and don’t put up countless fliers like many clubs do at the beginning of the year.
Hopefully, though, anyone with interest in gaining knowledge or practice in the sport will find them from 6 to 8 p.m. on Fridays. Both Yu and Stark agree that the club loves teaching new players, and, despite the low space, both hope that new players will continue to show up.
Any players that join the club and perform well in recreational play or show a particular passion for the sport might be approached by Yu to see if they want to join the club team and represent RIT against others. Anyone with an interest in the sport — whether it’s from fond memories of badminton in the back yard at family picnics or from rigorous training as a youngster — will find that RIT’s badminton club is worth a look.