Badminton is coming to Eastlake
July 5, 2012
By Lillian O'Rorke
There’s a new sport in town. Badminton.
Beginning spring, 2013 high school girls across the Lake Washington School district will get the chance to compete in the sport that has been an Olympic event since 1992.
“I’ve been pushing for it,” said Pat Bangasser, interim athletic director at Eastlake High School. “It’s great for kids. It’s a sport where you use your brains and your quickness. It’s as much about intelligence as it is about athleticism.”
Bangasser used to coach badminton at Inglewood Junior High School, where he said it is a very popular sport. Lake Washington offers badminton at all seven of its junior highs, where 280 girls came out for the racquet sport last year. The decision to extend it to high school play was made to ensure Title IX compliance.
“It’s appropriate that we continue to respond to girls’ interests in playing sports,” said Superintendent Traci Pierce, in a prepared statement. “We believe it will be a popular offering at the high school level.”
The district said it reviewed its sports offering this year and that badminton was the top response in a survey posed to high school students. Bangasser said it’s also a good pick because its presence in junior high means the start up costs will be minimal. He added that it also is a good fit in terms of field space. Unlike lacrosse, which is on the wishlist of some, badminton won’t compete for field space in the spring because it will be played indoors.
“The kids I’ve talked to are excited for the opportunity,” said Bangasser. “One challenge though, will be a lot of the kids interested in badminton also play tennis. They will have to make a choice; you can’t do it all.”
Eastlake anticipates that about 50-70 girls will turn out for the sport next spring. The new badminton team will compete against other Lake Washington schools and against teams from Bellevue and Mercer Island. More information about the schedules, season and coaches will be available when school begins in the fall.