EHHS badminton team ready for a victory

By Frances Taylor - ReminderNews
East Hartford - posted Thu., Sep. 20, 2012
Ashley Clancy and Rachel Forte are the senior captains of EHHS badminton team. Photos by Frances Taylor.
Ashley Clancy and Rachel Forte are the senior captains of EHHS badminton team. Photos by Frances Taylor.

For coach Dave Brower and the East Hartford High School badminton team, ending last season with a 0-10 record is not a reason for discouragement.

“We fell short – but what makes us a good team is that we stood strong, came here every day and gave it our all,” said Brower. The coach said he was full of pride for a team that “gave 100 percent, kept their heads held high and saw the season through.”

As if that was not enough, the season ended abruptly without a tournament for any badminton teams when the freak October 2011 snowstorm blew away the last days of their playing season, and it was time to surrender the courts to winter sports.

Despite being an Olympic sport, badminton has yet to catch on with many high school athletic programs in the U.S. East Hartford is among only a handful of schools with a badminton program at the varsity level. Their opponents include Simsbury, Hamden and Miss Porter's School in Farmington. The EHHS badminton team includes both a boys’ and girls’ team, both coached by Brower. Only Simsbury has a co-ed team like East Hartford High School.

“Badminton is one of the most popular sports worldwide, after soccer,” said Brower. “It’s just not that popular in this country. I think it’s great that East Hartford has it, and I would like to see more schools have a badminton program.”

Unlike the game played in the backyard, competitive badminton is a fast-paced game, whipping the shuttlecock or birdie across the net in an intense volley. Ashley Clancy and Rachel Forte are senior captains this year. Clancy said her classmates often view badminton as a casual and easy game, rather than one of fast competition.

“When they play against me in class, I whip them,” said Clancy, who also plays on the varsity tennis team. “There is a lot of skill and technique to win.”

And the team is ready for a win, according to their coach. The captains say players have won singles and doubles matches. “We're looking good right now – the team is 0-3 overall, but we've not been shut out, which is good,” Forte said. “We're already doing better than last year.”

“This team is ready for a victory,” Brower said.

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