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Badminton returns with surprising intensity, popularity

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Column by Joanie Barry

Barry is a junior radio-television and secondary education double major and can be reached at joan.barry@drake.edu

Joanie Berry Color-w800-h800One of intramurals’ most underrated sports has made a comeback. Badminton started this week with record-breaking numbers.

When I signed up to take a badminton shift, I was prepared for a calm, quiet night compared to competitive basketball. I was very surprised when participants showed up a half an hour early to warm up in matching outfits. Over 35 contestants came out for intramural badminton this past Wednesday. The best part about the night was not the sheer numbers but the environment in the Bell Center. There was certainly more excitement than your average Wednesday night.

Badminton may be a foreign sport for many of you readers. So for anyone questioning what the big deal about badminton is, here are some reasons to get your serving arm stretched.

Badminton may seem like a backyard party game, but it is actually a very effective way to stay in shape. My high school had a badminton team who was famous for its stamina and conditioning. It would run just as much as the varsity track team. Why? According to the head coach, playing a full match of singles badminton is equivalent to running a mile. There are a lot of short quick movements in badminton. It is deceiving, but every quick movement eventually adds up to be a mile long. Personally, I would rather run a mile playing badminton than running on a treadmill. In intramurals, we do not play full matches but we do have multiple short matches that should have the same effect.

I have always been very adamant about the healthy benefits of playing intramurals. One of the most important benefits of intramurals is the stress release. Badminton is one of my favorite stress release sports. Many people may wonder why, of all sports, is badminton a good stress reliever. Think about it — when players are stressed sometimes they get more aggressive than normal. While playing a sport like basketball or football that natural aggression will be taken out on other players. In badminton, however that aggression can be taken out using a racket. Unlike tennis, hitting someone with a birdie in badminton hurts a lot less. Hitting a birdie as hard as possible does not work the same way as hitting a tennis ball. It is possible to hurt someone badly with a tennis ball. To hurt someone with a birdie takes more technique. This way (as long as you do not hit your doubles partner with your racket) people can work out their aggression without endangering others.

Now that everyone has changed his or her previous perceptions about badminton, I am sure our participation will increase two-fold next year. If you cannot wait to get a badminton fix, then check out the doubles tournament on Wednesday at 9 p.m.

In honor of badminton, here is a badminton rule reminder. A serve has to be underhand. It also has to land in the box directly diagonal from the server. As always stay safe and play ball (or birdie).

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