Badminton: The Power of the Audience


Sohei Matsui

Whack, fling, zoom! Clank, shouts, grunts, steps, and swings. The sounds of the badminton court create a musically unique melody as the players dash around the court slamming birdies.

The webbed flyer silently drops to the floor. Then it’s heard: the roar of the “Birdie Bashers” – the official nickname of the badminton team – amplifies a corner of the gym’s hardwood floors. Cheers, claps, and yelling of the player’s names are heard as teammates root each other on, boosting each other’s morale. Badminton is not only a fun sport about hitting a birdie (also called a shuttlecock) back and forth, but it is also an enjoyable game to watch, whether you are a teammate, a friend, or fan.

“When I watch Leo and Rui play, it’s an art. They really coordinate with each other and just know how to play really efficiently. They decipher the best course of action to know when not to drop a point, and creating advantages for them to create points,” first-year Birdie Basher Nicholas Wynn explains. The Birdie Bashers are an impressive force in the county who have won multiple championships in the past few years. The tradition of excellence holds strong, as the team won the county championship in 2013 and was a county finalist in 2014.

“When people hear about badminton, they don’t take it as seriously. But in reality, badminton is a very enjoyable and exciting game that you can play with people of all backgrounds,” Joseph Kim, a Carver Center of Art and Technology student, said after a match against Towson High school last Friday. As I watched a game last week during the Birdie Basher’s run against various teams, the team’s energy impressed me. The seniors and leaders of the team burst like confetti whenever a smash was made by their teammates. A few claps and phrases of encouragement were rarely missed as their teammates worked hard to keep the birdie splashing in the air and diving into the enemy’s territory. “Whenever someone on the court is doing great, the team, along with myself are ready to congratulate them on their incremental successes so that in time, their overall success will come through,” says Team Captain Rui Fu.

Players Nicholas Wynn and Tanner Meeks say that whenever a student comes to watch, they feel a sense of congeniality and a boost in morale. “When I am Birdie-bashing at other schools, the environment is empty. There are not enough people there to watch and create excitement to add to the experience of the sport. When we are playing home, we really feel like we’re at home. There are friends and supporters there to have our backs,” says Tanner Meeks.

The team is having a robust run so far with a positive record of 3-2 and an undefeated record on their home court. The Birdie Bashers go against Parkville on October 14th and Dundalk on October 16th on Towson High’s very own home turf. The team captains Jaime Marischoff, Leo Lei, and Rui Fu invitingly say, “We would love everyone to come out and see our games. You won’t be disappointed!”