Western’s Wade King Recreation Center. // Photo by Jessica Vangel
A jump, a dive, a swing and a hit. The birdie flies through the air from one racket to the other, gaining momentum as the rally increases. Sweat drips down your competitor’s forehead as you wind back your racket and send the birdie spiraling down to the ground on their side of the net. No, you are not in an Olympic stadium, you are in the Wade King Student Recreation Center. Every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday students can play badminton as an open recreation sport with friends.
There are many ways for students to get active on campus. Open recreations sports like badminton can be played by anyone that is a student with no tryouts required. In the past, the rec center has offered sports such as bubble soccer, water basketball and other unique sports, but badminton has the steadiest participant base, according to Bob Hofstetter, associate director of facilities and operations.
Open recreation, club, and intramural sports are ways for students to get active and become part of a team.
“It is a good way to meet new people and a good way to work out,” Sophia Bird, a third-year student who plays badminton at the rec center with her friend, said.
For Bird, badminton is something easy and fun that she can do with her friends on the weekend.
“You can just throw it together, all you need is a couple rackets and a birdie,” Bird said.
Bird and her friend, Maia Anderson, also a third-year, had just come off of the court in a sweat, laughing about the amount of fun and the exercise they had gotten from playing badminton.
“It is just a hoot,” Anderson said.
The rec center offers sports like badminton to give students a wide range of services and opportunities to take advantage of at the recreation center, according to Hofstetter.
“We want to service as much of the campus community as possible and we believe offering a variety of activities will increase the number individuals that utilize the recreation center,” Hofstetter said.
Aside from open sports at the rec center, Western offers 25 active club sports and activities. Western club sports give students the opportunity to participate in recreational and competitive sports that are usually not offered as varsity athletics, according to the Campus Recreation Services website.
Campus Recreation Services also offers a variety of intramural sports for students to participate in. Intramural sports help students develop social, leadership and teamwork skills while building long lasting relationships, according to the Campus Recreation website.
Lucas Potes, intramural sports coordinator, said a big benefit of intramural sports is the safe environment, it gives students to meet new people in a social setting.
“I think the biggest benefit for students when it comes to participating in intramural sports is the atmosphere it brings,” Potes said in an email. “What I mean by this is, that intramurals offer non-binary leagues that welcome any person to come participate and feel safe when they are playing sports. We also love being able to offer opportunities for people to come meet people in such a social atmosphere.”
The information about open recreation, club and intramural sports can all be found on the Campus Recreation Services website.