Badminton yields more than ‘good workout’

Open court encourages students to exercise


Cody Casares / The Advocate

Eighty-three-year-old El Cerrito resident Hok Gouw plays badminton in the Gymnasium on Monday.

By Marlene Rivas, Opinion Editor

Open court for badminton is held on Monday nights at the Gymnasium from 7 to 10 p.m. All students and anyone in the area who is interested are welcome to join the class.

The activities are supervised by three instructors who also take part in playing with the students.

If students want to register to attend the badminton nights for the entire semester, they can pay a fee of $35. The entry fee for drop-ins is $3.50.

There are plenty of vacancies for anyone interested in signing up for the rest of the spring semester.

Aside from the entrance fee there is no other money that needs to be spent, because the equipment required for the game is available for students upon arrival. This includes rackets and the birdies needed to play.

Holding the badminton nights on campus allows for easy access to local residents, as opposed to other locations that specialize in badminton, which are farther away and have higher entrance fees.

The East Bay Badminton Association, for example, has courts specifically for badminton use in their Emeryville, Oakland and Berkeley locations. The drop-in fee for nonmembers ranges from $8 to $10, depending on the day.

The rental of a court for an hour is $30 for nonmembers and equipment must either be brought by players or rented out.

Badminton player Juan Martinez-Quehl said this activity allows for people who are passionate about the sport to come and enjoy it, while also getting to practice.

It is also a chance for those who have not yet tried the sport to take a swing at it and discover whether or not it is something that they would like to participate in.

The players help to set up the nets for the games. They take these games seriously and even make sure to stretch well before starting, Martinez-Quehl said.

The games can be played in singles or doubles. That is, it can vary from being played one on one or with two players on each side of the net. The first team to achieve a score of 21 points is the winner. 

“It’s a good workout,” badminton player Tim Hurt said.

Hurt has taken part in other forms of exercise that were more expensive and for less of a payoff than the badminton nights have provided.

“I would definitely recommend it,” Hurt said.

Some of the players have been playing for decades and they find many benefits to playing badminton. It is more aerobic than tennis and the players also move faster than they would with tennis. It maintains your hand to eye coordination, badminton player Gary Honda said.

The players who attend range from those playing for a decade to this one session being the first time that they pick up a racket and aim it at a birdie.

“There are different skill levels,” badminton player Adnan Rawan said.

Inexperienced newcomers should not feel intimidated by the experience of other players. The other players are more than happy to provide tips and help others in the class. It is a supportive and nonjudgmental atmosphere, Honda said. 

Apart from physical activity, the time gives participants the freedom to interact and allows for meeting new people, Martinez-Quehl said.

Badminton player Wayne Tsing said the students who take part in playing badminton at the Gymnasium for years believe that adjustments could be made to benefit badminton. There are other sports that take priority over badminton and this leaves the players with the short end of the stick. Accommodations for badminton often take extended amounts of time to get done.

When new installments for the poles that hold up the nets were needed, it took months to get the holes put in, he said.

Since one of the Gymnasium’s main purposes is to provide a home for the Contra Costa College men’s and women’s basketball teams, it takes priority over the needs of the badminton class, Tsing said.

Tsing said the newly painted lines that depict the badminton courts are almost the same shade as the wooden floor.

Despite minor inconsideration to their sport, Tsing said the badminton nights are going well and the instructors and participants are eager for greater attendance.