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Badminton – A Sport For Counts, Cagney And The Whole Family
Badminton, that game played with little rackets and a fun thing called a shuttlecock (or bird), actually has a long and storied history. The sport first appeared in China around 500 BC. It was called Ti Jian Zi and was played with a shuttlecock and feet.
The sport then surfaced in the 16th century where it was practiced by European nobility (hence the sport of the counts) and was known as “jeu de Volant”, which in French meant “wheel game”. It consisted of hitting a small ball with the palm of the hand.
Call it badminton or call it Poona
The sport as we know it today was created by British military officers in India in the mid-18th century. He was particularly popular in the British garrison town of Poona and was therefore known as Poona for some time.
Retired British Army officers took the game to England where its rules were developed. It was officially launched in 1873 at Badminton House, Gloucestershire – hence the name badminton.
Badminton in America
America’s first club was the Badminton Club of New York, founded in 1878. Badminton’s popularity took off in the 1930s when YMCAs, schools, and hundreds of new badminton clubs offered badminton lessons. Its popularity was also boosted in the 1930s due to the passionate play of Hollywood stars such as James Cagney (Cagney’s sport), Douglas Fairbanks, Boris Karloff, Dick Powell, Ginger Rogers and Bette Davis.
How badminton compares to other sports
One of the coolest things about this game is that it is played with a shuttlecock, a feathered projectile, which makes it fly differently than balls used in other sports. A flywheel’s feathers create much higher drag, so it decelerates much faster than a bullet.
Although there have never been definitive studies comparing badminton to other sports, there is general agreement that it – especially the singles version – requires more aerobic endurance than the tennis, while tennis requires greater upper body and core strength.
It is also generally accepted that the sport definitely requires more explosive athleticism than tennis and somewhat more explosive athleticism than squash. It also requires significantly faster reaction times than squash or tennis.
Family fun or fierce competition
Another thing that makes this sport unique is that it can be played for fun or as a serious competition. If you ever see Olympic badminton, you’ll know what we mean – it’s incredibly fast and requires incredible athleticism. Yet you can also spend as little as $19.95, set up a plot in your backyard, and watch your kids spend hours battling for family bragging rights. And that’s definitely something you can’t say about football, basketball or even tennis.
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