Badminton: An Old Sport New to Northside
by Amulya Aluru
Badminton dates back almost 2000 years to Ancient Greece, China, and India, where it was originally known as battledore and shuttlecock. Over centuries, it has evolved to the version commonly known today, which is played in the Olympics and competitively across Europe and Asia.
Its influence in America is significant as well; many high schools and universities across the nation have or are in the process of creating badminton teams for passionate students. Still, the sport is widely overlooked and underrated. That stigma is one of the things that Emily Cihla, Adv. 800, hopes to erase by creating Northside’s first badminton club and team. She expresses that it is more intense than it looks, saying, “… it doesn’t look like a lot but it works on your legs and your arms.” She urges undecided Northsiders to “just try it and you’ll be really surprised.”
Cihla, a senior at Northside, started playing badminton at the young age of six. She received a bag of sports equipment, discovering some badminton racquets inside of it. Her love for the sport quickly spread to others across her neighborhood, as she organized competitions and practices for her friends. As opposed to her peers, Cihla recalls, she took the sport very seriously. She shares that she hopes to pursue badminton at the collegiate level.
A PE staple, all Northsiders receive a three-week unit of badminton their first year. However, until now, there have been no other opportunities for interested students to pursue the sport outside of class. The club and the team will work to remedy this situation. Cihla’s love for badminton was one of the main factors that pushed her to start Northside’s Badminton Club at the end of her junior year. She shares that she had wanted to start the club since freshman year, but did not know if it would be successful. However, the immense interest the student body has shown in the sport is surprising and heartwarming, she says. Over 100 people are on the email list, Cihla adds. She says that the club is, “something for other students to get involved in.”
Women’s badminton will be coming to Northside as an official IHSA Spring sport. There is not a men’s team; however, the club is still open to all Northside students. Like other spring sports, Badminton will run until May. Northside’s team is expected to play against teams representing Taft, Payton, and other city and suburban schools. The team is also planning to host multiple tournaments, including the City Championship Tournament, which is on April 28. For those interested in trying out for the sport, the last tryout date will be on March 8 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the gymnasium. Practices will normally be weekdays and Saturdays for one and a half to two hours. For those who do not make the team or cannot join it, the club serves as the perfect opportunity to play badminton. Both will coexist, but the sport takes place strictly during the spring season, while the club is year-round.
Cihla urges anyone interested in joining the club or the sport to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She hopes that both will allow Northside students to try something new and learn more about themselves. The sport is a great way to stay active, meet fellow students, and be a part of a larger team.