Student Seeks to Revive Badminton Club

Lilian+Lu%2C+sophomore%2C+plays+badminton+at+the+Pioneer+Badminton+Club+in+Chicago%2C+Lu+travels+to+Chicago+often+to+participate+in+tournaments+and+sharpen+her+skills+at+camps.

Media by Christina Yin

Lilian Lu, sophomore, plays badminton at the Pioneer Badminton Club in Chicago, Lu travels to Chicago often to participate in tournaments and sharpen her skills at camps.

Felicia Durst, physical education teacher, began playing competitive badminton in high school in Canada and even made it to the Central-Western Ontario Secondary School Associate, which is the equivalent of making it to sectionals in the U.S.

“I enjoyed playing with my best friend and we made it to sectionals,” said Durst. “When we would go play against the other teams they were all so good, and it was fun getting to play and missing school.”

When she began teaching at MHS almost 20 years ago, Durst began teaching badminton in her PE classes. 

“Badminton is a great sport and can be great exercise once you learn how to really play the game,” said Durst. “I still have yet to be beaten by a student.”

The club was started four years ago because of Alita Sunil, Class of 2020. Sunil asked Durst and Kevin Sharitz, technology teacher, to sponsor the club, recruited her friends to join, and created a new chapter of badminton. 

In total, the club contained about 10-12 students but only 4-8 students would regularly participate. They would set up nets and play for fun before school and there were no tournaments due to the lack of participation.

Badminton is a great sport and can be great exercise once you learn how to really play the game,” Durst said. “I still have yet to be beaten by a student.”

— Felicia Durst

The club was dismantled after Sunil graduated in 2020 and due to COVID-19.

Lilian Lu, competitive badminton, player for the Pioneer badminton club in Chicago wishes MHS still had a team. 

Pioneer badminton is an International Level Badminton sports facility where players of all skill levels can train, including where Lu plays. 

Lu frequently travels to Chicago to play at her badminton club. She usually goes in the summertime and recently over long weekends for various tournaments and camps. 

When she is not traveling back and forth from Chicago to play. Lu trains for badminton with her private coach in the gyms at Clayton High school. 

The lack of badminton culture here in St.Louis makes it difficult to find an alternative place for Lu to play. 

“I do feel that badminton is so underrepresented,” Lu said. “First of all, I think it’s really fun, and two, it’s just like any other sport and it takes a lot of practice and dedication and it can be just as rewarding as any other sport as well.” 

First of all, I thinks it’s really fun, and two, it’s just like any other sport, and it takes a lot of practice and dedication, and it can be just as rewarding as any other sport as well.”

— Lilian Lu

“We are actually trying to connect with the sponsor and see if we are able to revitalize the club,” said Lu.

Shane Matzen, activities director says that apart from not having a sponsor, the main reason badminton is not available as a club is due to the fact that there is no space for it to conduct practices. 

“​​When a student wants to start a club we give them some possible sponsors but if there is no one willing to sponsor we tell them to go out on their own and find one,” said Matzen. “ But ​​the main issue is there isn’t any space. We don’t have anywhere for the club to meet.”

Though, in Sharitz’s case, being a technology teacher involves him putting in extra work and time outside of school hours for his student’s projects and helping out with other clubs projects such as robotics. 

“With those responsibilities, plus dealing with all of our construction problems and coaching softball, I just do not have time to add on another club responsibility right now,” said Sharitz.