Drop-in badminton underway in Hope

Sessions run on Monday and Wednesday evenings at C.E. Barry school

Quentin Jones leaps to unleash his shot

Quentin Jones leaps to unleash his shot

You’ve only got 82 square metres to share with your partner — but a robust game of badminton may have you running as many as 700 steps, in pursuit of the elusive shuttlecock.

Those were my findings after taking readings from my pedometer at Monday night drop-in badminton at C.E. Barry school, two weeks in a row. After eight games of varying length, the step total was about 5,400… which equates to over four kilometres if you take all the movements and string them into a straight line.

Elapsed time: about 50 minutes. You could walk that far in 50 minutes — but you wouldn’t be breaking a sweat like you can at badminton.

It’s a game of speed, placement and trickery — and you’ve got maybe a second to think of what to do next before the shot is sent back to your side.

It’s a fun game and a great workout and drop-in badminton has been happening in Hope since at least the mid-1970s. Some may remember the 20th Century days when the fee was a whopping 25 cents, to cover the purchase of a new tube of birdies every few weeks.

Now organized under the umbrella of Hope & District Recreational and Cultural Services, it’s a toonie per night, which is still quite affordable. Inge Wilson acts as a volunteer coordinator for the rec centre, collecting monies and passing them on. She’s been whacking birds in Hope for nearly 20 years now.

“Sabine Keil got me started,” said Wilson, “though I had played in Richmond when I was in elementary school.”

The C.E. Barry gym has three courts which have been fully utilized for doubles play in the last few weeks.

“We start one week after school begins in September,” said Wilson, “but the weather was so nice this fall, so our numbers were low. We don’t normally get all the regulars back until the weather changes and the time changes back.”

In addition to the regulars, the group has picked up two new players who have recently moved to town.

Nastaran Hosseini is an occupational therapist at Fraser Canyon Hospital.

“I played for fun in Iran,” she said on Monday. “I’ve been in Canada for five years and I played in North Vancouver when I lived there.”

Lindsay Kufta came to Hope in mid July to work as a pharmacist at Pharmasave.

She grew up in West Vancouver, where she attended Rockridge Secondary and played on the badminton team, as well as the wrestling, track and field and mountain bike teams.

“I think I maybe won one badminton game at high school,” recalled Kufta. She’s already had at least two wins in Hope, so things are looking up.

Joining a local sport can be a great way to meet people and get involved in a new community. If you have badminton in your background, consider dropping by. You’ll need to be age 15 or older — and have your own racquet, non-marking shoes and a toonie.

Sessions run from 6:30 to 8:30 on Monday and Wednesday evenings at C.E. Barry school on 4th Avenue.

Note the school closures on Nov. 12 and 26 and school function on Nov. 28 will shut down badminton on those days.

* * *

By the way, those badminton steps were applied toward the “Walk to Mexico” virtual-walk challenge that is currently running at the rec centre. A group of about 20 has a combined total of 1,259,213 steps after three weeks. That brings the group to Grant’s Pass in southern Oregon already — with another week’s walking already done but not tabulated.

That puts us in northern California, with many more kilometres to go before reaching Tapachula in the deep south of Mexico. Then we have to come back.

It’s not too late to join this free program. Sign up at the reception desk and ask for your free pedometer.

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