The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

Serves up on badminton court

A hot summer day, an ice-cold beverage, two racquets, a plastic shuttlecock and a volleyball net.

“That’s the experience most American’s have with badminton, but it’s really the second biggest sport in the world,” said Gary Eippert, a Northern Kentucky University professor who teaches beginning badminton and serves as the adviser for the Badminton Club.

It began in fall 2006 after a group of students took Eippert’s class.

“They came to me and said they really liked the class and wanted to take it farther,” Eippert said. “They’ve been practicing non-competitively since then.”

Badminton began in the late 1800s in Dunbar, England, and is the fastest racquet sport in the world with record-breaking speeds of over 200 mph, according to the Badminton World Federation Web site.

“The sport is similar to tennis, but it’s much faster,” Eippert said.

Hareesh Hemachandran, the current club president, took over leadership from John Causey, the club’s founder, in spring 2007 and has been actively recruiting members.

The club is open to all students and members hope to, someday, compete outside of its membership.

Club sports are a median between varsity sports and intramurals – most keep a competitive edge and play year-round.

However, they are not the university’s recognized sporting teams.

“They are a great way to stay involved in the sports you played in high school or to try out new ones,” said Jill Kleiser, assistant director of campus recreation and club sports coordinator. “They are also a wonderful opportunity to get some exercise and meet new people.”

The growth in interest spawned an SGA resolution in February 2007 to allocate $100,000 toward club sports.

“We have some money from that in the club’s funds,” Hemachandran said. “But currently, we have more racquets than players.”

He added that should more people come to practices, which are Mondays from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Albright Health Center gym, the club would definitely purchase more equipment.

“Badminton is both fun and physically challenging,” Eippert said. “It’s also a good way to get active because it’s a very fast sport – there isn’t much standing around in badminton.”

Like many clubs and organizations on NKU’s commuter campus, Badminton struggles to find both a convenient gym time and members.

“Every semester poses a challenge to get a decent gym time – no one wants to go to the gym at nine at night,” Eippert said. “But I guess there are growing pains with every new group or sport and you just really have to let people know you’re out there.”

Although most people use a volleyball net to play backyard-badminton, the true net is only 5 feet-2 inches tall. “The problem with badminton,” he said, “is that most Americans just don’t know about it.”

For more information about the Badminton Club, contact Hemachandran at