Badminton - A 'Cool' Sport
“Cool as the other side of the pillow”, a phrase often used by popular ESPN Sportscenter anchor Stuart Scott is what playing sports is all about. Football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and tennis have been part of our ethos and social fabric for generations. Then there are a vast majority of sports which become parts of our lives for a fortnight every four years. Yes, the summer Olympics are instrumental in bringing these 'other' sports into our family rooms.
Badminton is one such sport. One of the fastest racket sports, badminton has not been part of the American sports culture. It ranks in the top five sports played across the world – it is immensely popular in Asia, Europe, and even Canada. Why then has badminton struggled to make headway into the American psyche? Badminton for long has been part of the American lifestyle as a backyard sport. Almost everyone of us has played badminton at some point in our lives but it never has captured our imagination. Every school in America has badminton as an intramural sport – California and Illinois are among the few states where badminton is a high school sport. Badminton has an 'image' issue.
You wonder why? Badminton has raw athleticism, speed, agility, power, drama, theater – all quintessential characteristics that draw us to playing and watching the 'cool' sports. Badminton players are some of the most finely-tuned athletes amongst all professional athletes. Badminton is a great lifestyle sport as well. In an era where working out – Fitbits and other wearables are en vogue, playing badminton for fitness is a uniquely sell-able idea.
All in all badminton has a lot going for it. The first step is to popularize the game at the grassroots level by marketing and advertising it as a 'cool' sport to play.