Badminton Club, which started as a social gathering of students who enjoyed the sport, is putting more of an emphasis on building its competitive team as the organization gears up to hold tryouts on Oct. 3.
The club was founded three years ago and a competitive team was also formed immediately for those students who sought to compete against players from different universities.
This year math senior and the club’s Director of Communications Luke Bang has a specific plan for not only the competitive team but also the club as a whole.
“I am working on making a website and leaderboard for rankings, like other sports have. I definitely want to make the club more competitive, very competitive,” he said. “For me, it’s fun to get better, and I want to spread the fun to get other people to improve.”
Bang said that he would like to make practices more rigorous, but he doesn’t want to detract from the social, fun-loving component of the club.
“The social aspect has always been important,” Bang said. “(But) we’re going to start doing more drills. Usually, these have only been for the competitive team, really, but this year I want to include everyone.”
Zhen Zhang, electrical engineering sophomore and director of recruitment, is looking to be part of a more competitive team. The club is split equally between members of the competitive team and simply members of the club.
“We do advertising first for the tryouts, putting up flyers and posters. We want the best players from everywhere on campus (for the competitive team),” he said. “Anyone who wants to try out can do it, but we usually take five boys and five girls. Usually, those on the team also practice outside of the club’s weekly practices in the Activity Center.”
Even though the competitive spirit runs high this year, Bang said all the players are united by a common love for the game.
“(I joined) essentially because I liked badminton. I picked it up from my dad, as a kid. In fact, for a lot of us, there’s the whole ‘dad-minton’ thing. A lot of guys just played with their dads when they were younger,” Bang said. “What I love about Badminton Club is that it attracts a diverse group of people who can all share the bond of a sport that isn’t as popularized.”
The team competes in tournaments during the fall and spring involving universities such as the University of Houston, Texas A&M, Baylor University, Rice University and others.
The first tournament of the year usually takes place about a month or two after the competitive team is formed, which will be during the week of Oct. 3.
Muhib Chaudhuri, a computer and electrical engineering junior, who joined the club to play badminton, has stayed because of the community he’s found.
“I joined because of my love of the game,” he said. “I really enjoy the welcoming environment, and the people are friendly, so it makes me value the organization to keep it going.”