Development Officer, Badminton New Zealand
My busy childhood was spent playing a lot of sport. Coming from a very active family I danced (tap, ballet and jazz) from the age of 3. I competed on stage and also completed all my dancing exams, most with an honours pass. I played badminton from when I was 10, but only for my school and junior club. I was a girl guide then junior leader. I started competitive running at the age of 14 with my college PE teacher as my coach; I went on to represent Wellington at national and North Island cross country, road running and athletics. I even dabbled in football and cricket.
Trust With Badminton
My parents met at badminton. I first saw the sport when they were playing. I was very young, but I think it was at Badminton Hall in Naenae (where I work now), and I remember my sister and cousins and I itching to pick up a racket and hit a shuttle because that’s what our parents were doing.
I remember I couldn’t wait to turn ten so I could play. I don’t know if that was the minimum age of our junior club at the time, or if it was an age my parents set. But I just couldn’t wait. I played for our local junior club from 10 and for my college until I left school, then cost and other activities got in the way.
One memorable event would have to be the New Zealand Junior Team Competition in Palmerston North last year. I was coach for our under-13 team. They were such a joy and I had so much fun with them. I was exhausted at the end, as were they, but they were just easy to look after and coach and be around. Their smiles, their tears, and then their medal. Brilliant!
I really enjoy playing socially, as well as for our Masters 2 team. Badminton is my social sport, although I do enjoy the competitive aspect as well. I think it is a fantastic social game, and I love the fact my husband and I can enjoy a sport together.
I really enjoy my job as Development Officer, and love seeing the improvement in our players as well as the fun they have.
What Makes it Different
Being indoors helps, especially as it’s mostly a winter sport! I think most people can pick up a racket and play to whatever their ability is and have fun. There is a certain satisfaction with having control over a little shuttle and where it goes. I haven’t yet put my finger on exactly what the appeal is. Just everything!
Impact of Shuttle Time
Through persistence and in some cases funding, we have seen a huge increase in participation in badminton in our area across all walks of life. Our school competition has flourished with schools that didn’t used to enter teams and now entering several. With those kids come their parents and other family members which of course leads to growth in other areas of our association such as senior clubs and private use of our hall.
Lessons from Shuttle Time
There are always lessons being learned. Every child is different, and with them come different experiences. You must learn to adapt quickly and sometimes be out of your comfort zone. Patience, adaptability, knowing how to have fun yourself and remember that what you put in you will get back.