Tuesday, June 6, 2006

What is it with Asian People and Racquet Sports?

Tennis, ping pong, badminton. Why do Asians love them so much? Is their hand-eye coordination especially good? Is their body type better suited for racquet sports? Is there something about Asian culture that encourages individual sports over team sports?

I played badminton in high school. I grew up playing ping pong in the basement and tennis on the weekends, so badminton felt vaguely familiar when I picked it up in P.E. class. Most people laugh when I tell them that I was on the badminton team. Hardee har. They laugh because it's badminton and then they laugh because they can't believe my high school actually had a badminton team (as in JV and Varsity). Boo on them.

I went to high school in Orange County. Land of the gazillion Asian people. In fact, back when I was in high school (and perhaps now still), the joke was that UCI stood for University of Chinese Immigrants. So it's no wonder that we had a badminton team.

Look, non-Asian people playing badminton!

There is a misconception that badminton is a recreational backyard sport. Competitive badminton, however, is always played indoors. I wonder why most people don't take badminton seriously.

Some interesting facts that I found on BBC:
Badminton claims to be the second most-popular participation sport in the world. Only football beats it.

It's officially the fastest racquet sport in the world. The shuttle is smashed around the court at speeds of up to 200 mph - the same speed as Eurostar!

Its Olympic debut was in 1992 in Barcelona. Since 1992 Asian players have won 42 of the 46 Olympic medals.

The Chinese originally played a version of badminton called Ti Zian Ji. They didn't use racquets though, they used their feet.

6 comments:

hh said...

chan rocked the badminton court! :)

hh said...

oh and i bought my dad, per his request, a ping pong table for his 60th birthday! how yellow of me! hahaha...
it's F-U-N.
ps did you know my mom was a ping pong champee?

Anonymous said...

I used to play badminton in high school in Germany.

MK

junebee said...

The Citizen (Chinese) loves tennis, both watching and playing it. We actually got to play tennis here in Toronto, something we haven't done since the kids were born.
Some of his other Chinese friends love tennis as well.

He was surprised to learn that badminton is something Americans play at family picnics and that's about it. I did see some badminton on TV and it was competitive, not a bunch of un-coordinated Americans who look like they're swatting flies!

Anonymous said...

I totally played badminton in high school--the only varsity letter I ever earned! Badminton rocked!
I'm not sure it's all racquet sports--maybe just random racquet sports or those sports involving small projectiles (ping pong, badminton, think the south korean penchant for archery).

-LC

chanchow said...

Hey LC- Badminton was my only varsity letter, too. Legit, yo!