November 2012
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I had my last badminton class just a few minutes ago. For the past month, I’ve been taking badminton three mornings a week as part of my Physical Activity and Wellness Requirement for the McDaniel Plan, our guidelines for types of required courses for all students here at McDaniel. The most common way to fulfill this Physical Activity requirement is to take four .5 credit phys. ed. classes throughout their time at McDaniel. (Students can also fulfill the requirement by participating in intercollegiate sports.) Each of these classes lasts for a month, so you’ll only have to go to the class no more than 15 times.

At first, I was nervous about taking badminton in college. I was apprehensive about losing an hour right in the middle of my mornings three days a week that could otherwise be spent doing homework (or sleeping). I was also afraid that the grading system would be harsh and that I wouldn’t do well as a result.

However, though I did indeed have to devote three hours a week to badminton, the class was not hard or harsh at all. Coach Hoyt, the instructor and head coach of our football team, grades very fairly; in fact, most of my grade will come just from showing up and wearing clothes appropriate for exercising.

What I liked about the class was that we didn’t just derp around with birdies and racquets. We actually learned the skills, shots, and rules needed to play real games of badminton, and we all played several 10-minute games during each class meeting.

I was terrible at serving the birdie at first, and I could never serve underhand (the correct way) in high school, but Coach Hoyt helped me one-on-one during the first couple of days of class to fix that. I ended up becoming so good at serving that I could do it well with my left hand in addition to my right (a skill I discovered when a substitute teacher told us to play with our opposite hands for the last five minutes of one of our class meetings). And though I wasn’t always good at game play, I still had a lot of fun.

Another neat thing about class was that I got to know a few people in my English classes and in my major a lot better, which is awesome because I have new people on campus that I like and people who I can turn to if I ever need clarification on an assignment or have to do a group project. Based on this experience, I would recommend avoiding taking gym classes with existing friends, unless you’re really interested in that particular sport.

I really grew to like and be reasonably good at badminton, and I’m going to miss it (though I’ll be happy to get those extra hours back in my week, especially since there’s only a little over a month left in the semester and that’s when things start to get really busy). Luckily, there’s a badminton club on campus that meets one night a week. This semester, they meet the night I have class, but next semester, I think I’ll be sure to make time in my evening to join them!

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