Badminton team emphasizes competitive spirit and togetherness

The badminton team kicked off the season with a quad match against Lake Forest, Buffalo Grove, and Conant on March 14.

Last year, badminton switched from its usual springtime season to winter, and strict level divisions for sake of stopping COVID-19 spreads made team-building difficult. Senior varsity player Sophie Vanderwarker expresses her goals for the 2022 season, stating that she’s excited to make up the tournaments and games that were canceled during the height of the pandemic.

“I’m just looking forward to getting back to normal and doing more team bonding stuff. I just want to ignore all of COVID and just have fun playing.”

A highlight for the team is “Badminton Takes On All Challengers”, where the team invites parents and teachers to play against them to raise money for the program. Competitors place bets on the match, and if the player wins (which they consistently do, according to the kits) they take the prize. 

“It helps to fund badminton, but it’s also really fun to play your parents,” says Vanderwarker.

Badminton was the first all-female sport at ETHS and remains a female-only team. This may be due to lack of funding, teacher sponsorship or interest for a boys program. However, junior John Bezaitis states that he knows plenty of male students who would like to participate in badminton, either on a team or in a club.

“I had talked to my friends about starting a badminton club, and a lot of them were concerned about conflict [with other sports], but they figured out it was in the spring season. I have a whole group of friends who would be willing to do it. I have talked to a lot of people in my classrooms about doing it. So it definitely has enough interest, I think.”

Badminton, whether recreational or competitive, has many passionate participants, and the team shares a strong bond.

“Everyone is so nice on the team,” says Vanderwarker. “And it just feels like a home. Going to practice everyday makes you feel very happy.”