CARBONEAR, NL — A local badminton club is hoping for a resurgence in interest in the sport.
Badminton is likely not top of the list of the most popular sports in the province; however, the CBN Badminton Club hopes to change that by introducing the sport to a younger generation and re-introducing it to those who may have left it in the past.
Pierre LeGresley, a retired RCMP officer from Bay Roberts, has been involved in badminton for decades. Over the past few years, he and a couple of other badminton players got together to form the CBN Badminton Club, which has allowed them to coach people in the sport and share their passion for the racket and shuttlecock.
“Slowly, but surely, we’ve been building as a group. We’re going to a number of schools in the area coaching badminton to rebuild it,” LeGresley said, naming Carbonear Academy, Amalgamated Academy and Carbonear Collegiate as some of the schools where the club has promoted the sport. “People don’t really know badminton and they don’t understand it. There are so many great opportunities on a worldwide level for people who are skilled in the sport, and that’s something we’d like to see – people develop their skills for badminton and have the same kind of passion for it as they do for sports like hockey.”
It isn’t just skilled players the club hopes to attract. LeGresley explained to the Compass that he and the other coaches simply want to see the game grow in the area, ranging from casual players to highly skilled naturals on the court.
The inexpensive nature of the game and its relative ease to get into are two major factors LeGresley named for those considering badminton, adding a pair of shoes and a usable racket were really the only equipment one would need to get started.
“It’s a very accessible sport, and a very big one in other parts of the world,” he said. “Professional badminton has a category for ages 85 and under. It’s a cheap sport too …especially compared to a lot of other sports, where parents might spend upwards of $5,000 a year on equipment,”
While other sports like hockey, baseball and basketball get a lot of attention, badminton is a little less intense, said LeGresley.
“In North America everyone thinks they’re going to be a professional hockey player, baseball player, basketball player, and unfortunately, that’s not always the case,” he said. “Badminton is a little different because, yes, you can become very skilled and make it big, but it’s so easy to just play it casually as well.
“There’s no pressure. You can play it in your backyard with your family, or on a court with some friends, and if you want to pursue it even further and try to make a career out of it, that option is there as well.”
While they as coaches have been playing the sport for years, it isn’t all about competition. A game of badminton, the coach explained, can do wonders for those looking for a solid workout, or a way to socialize and create bonds with people of similar interests. The club hopes to see more people stopping by for some games or to learn the ropes as beginners.
LeGresley said the club has several players he believes have what it takes to make it as top-tier badminton players with a natural knack for the ins and outs of the court.
The club hopes to bring these players to Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Deer Lake in March.
“It’s like Wayne Gretzky and hockey – he wasn’t a great hockey player just because he could skate well or shoot the puck well – it was because he knew the game and understood what he and the team had to do to win. It’s the same here with badminton. We’ve got some young players here who really understand the game and that’s wonderful to see. The game is growing, and we want to continue that. That’s the main goal here.”
Victor Bacallieu Trail tournament results from the weekend of Feb. 24-25:
• Boys single under 15:
1) Brandon Upshall, CBN (Holy Redeemer)
2) Brady Dale, CBN (Holy Redeemer)
3) Chase Oliver, CBN (Holly Redeemer)
• Girls single under 17:
1) Rachel Snow, CBN (Carbonear)
2) Karlie Squires, Baccalieu
3) Aby Oliver, CBN (Ascension)
• Mixed under 19:
1) Robert Hicks/Rachel Snow, CBN (Carbonear)
2) Brandon Upshall, CBN/Karlie Squires, Baccalieu
3) Brady Dale, CBN/Aby Oliver, CBN