bio photo
Scott Dagostino
  • Comments
BadinTO boys! Vince Chan, Michael Babb & Brian Tran (one more cutie can be found inside the story below!) All photos by the amazing James Lourenço!
left arrow 1 / 1 right arrow
arrow down right

Big, thick shuttlecocks

Scott Dagostino finds civility and gaiety in the intense sport of badminton


It’s a Wednesday night in the gym at Danforth Tech Collegiate and dozens of men in T-shirts and shorts are running, sweating and swinging racquets furiously in a demanding game of . . . badminton? That can’t be right. Shouldn’t they be daintily flicking the racquet with one hand, balancing a cucumber sandwich and a cup of tea on the other? It’s not as if they’re chasing a real ball, even: it’s some little plastic nub wrapped in a doily and called a shuttlecock. How do they not just giggle all through it?

“People have the wrong impression of badminton,” says Brian Tran, a Ryerson grad student who joined Toronto’s gay and lesbian badminton league, BadinTO, earlier this year. “People who’ve played it in their backyards think it’s very lighthearted, but badminton is actually a very intense sport. It takes a lot of discipline and strategy. Badminton is very special to me because it’s a very civilized sport. It’s all about being centred in your body and your mind, and the focus is on self-discipline.”

Makes sense: it was tea-sipping British military officers stationed in India in the 1850s who developed this sport, which was eventually included in the Olympics in 1992. In a survey of athletes and sports doctors in 2004, the US sports channel ESPN ranked the 60 most difficult sports and placed badminton at number 30 — easier than cycling and ski jumping but tougher than rowing, swimming and several types of track and field.

“There are tons of injuries,” says Vince Chan, who has played badminton since he was 14, placing first in Ontario college championships two years in a row. He took over the leadership of BadinTO six years ago and insists that the sport can be dangerous if one isn’t careful: “A badminton bird hit by a professional can reach over 200 miles per hour, and these guys are only standing six feet apart. I’ve knocked someone’s glasses off and they got pieces of glass in their eyebrow, blood everywhere.”

Most amateur matches, of course, are nowhere near that intense, but here comes the very fit Michael Babb (better known as DJ Deko-ze), with his forehead beaded with sweat after a 10-minute game. “I love it,” he says. “It’s a great release.” A third-year player, he agrees with Brian Tran that focus is highly important, but, he laughs, “Whether I have that focus or not remains to be seen. The only athletics I’d ever done in school was sprints, so this is new and very different. And fun. It’s nice to do something away from the scene. I meet different people and I can relax and not be on, you know?”

Unlike a lot of other Toronto sports groups, Babb says, “one thing I really like about this league is that you can play at your level or you can play with experts. It forces you to play better when you can play with someone one or two levels above you.”

It also encourages a communal vibe that Chan, as president, has worked hard to achieve. He tells a story about organizing a game during college: “Three of us were signed up for a court; all of us very advanced players. This new guy came along, not a good player at the time, and he joined us, but the other two players just walked off the court. I never forgot the look on his face.”

That would never happen with BadinTO. The group is very social, with players of different skill sets playing together and then all going out for dinner. “Our mission statement, which I had a hand in writing when I took over,” Chan says, “is that it’s all about respect.” It’s especially important in a queer group, he says. “As gay men and lesbians, we have enough people being shitty towards us; we don’t need to be shitty to each other at the club.”

“I tried to make it lighter and more fun,” Chan says, and it seems to be working: the league currently hosts about 110 members. “Thank god not all of them come at once!” he laughs. New recruit Tran says, “I feel very lucky as a new member because it was so welcoming. I felt a real sense of community that I had been looking for. This has been my deflowering as far as gay leagues go.”

Andrew Shaddick is his opposite, a 10-year veteran of the group who joined with his partner after growing tired of sport-club cliques: “The better players want to stick together and get better and better.” Badminton, however, “is a much more social game,” he says. “It’s a really great bunch of people here, and there’s a lot of fun and playfulness.” Shaddick used to play squash but got tired of the machismo. “It’s very alpha,” he laughs, “very MBAs-with-briefcases wanting to kill you.”

So badminton, then, is the warm-hearted and gentle sport that is physically exhausting and all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Maybe its paradoxes can’t be explained at all but only experienced. Good thing Vince Chan and his team are making it easy to do so. —Scott Dagostino

Comment has successfully been submitted.

Comment has been rated as Spam and can't be shown.

Join the FAB Conversation

* Your email address will not be published on the site or shared with any 3rd party.
Site editors may contact you if they wish to reply to your comment. Privacy Policy

Notify me via email when somebody replies to my comment.
Comment Guidelines

Are you sure you would like to report this comment? It will be flagged for FAB moderators to take action.

Thank you. This comment has been flagged for moderator attention.

* Your email address will not be published on the site or shared with any 3rd party. Site editors
may contact you if they wish to reply to your comment. Privacy Policy

Notify me via email when somebody replies to my comment.
    • qib7xg453
      12/26/2013 3:35:14 AM
      [url=][B]jeremy scott sneakers[/B][/URL] Whedon: I'd like to have Mike in the house. Even as could possibly work one another, there were take action at a rhythm. He is John. How to find all of us, innovative? Though we've got the films so we possess Tv on pc and we must ensure there does exist quite a few cross-over, however it is not a huge amount of that many of us look, "Well, I wouldn't enjoy travelling to that will movie. My partner and i first viewed it in the media." When we let that happen (Sight Studios American president) Kevin Feige is likely to are provided after people by using a pitchfork.

      [url=][B]jeremy scott shoes[/B][/URL] Elp: Samuel B. Yost explained to you and me a day ago this guy won't be able to trust he's not mixed up in newer TV series like "SHIELD" Overseer Processor Fury. Do you ever notice a place with regard to the dog in the present?

      [url=][B]jeremy scott adidas[/B][/URL] Whedon: He / she can. Right away it's not anything Now i am using since i currently have so much having on "Avengers" A pair of. Searching for in which Coulson i personally

      [url=][B]jeremy scott bones[/B][/URL] Whedon: . would delight John inside your. Even as will work against eachother, . undertake it at a pulse rate. He's got Sam. Exactly what a number of us, brand-new? However , we've got television and that we own Television set and in addition we must ensure you will find various crossover, however not a great deal of that folks proceed, "Well, I can't wish to see that will dvd movie. My spouse and i first viewed it on morning shows.Inches After we try this (Miracle Shops Ceo) Kevin Feige will probably come following others having pitchfork.

      [url=][B]jeremy scott clothing[/B][/URL] Whedon: The guy can. Right away it isn't anything at all Now i am
    • ggtwzg5
      12/19/2013 3:49:08 AM
      [url=][B]louis vuitton speedy 32 monogram idylle m56703 handbags[/B][/url] In actual fact, "Avatar" is usually led from Cameron, what person made a film with respect to 14yearold young girls with 1997, subsequently constructed a great bumm away from him self when using cash incentives strategy and has now possibly not become heard from given that. Determined by revealed stories on your way forward for movie, he has well-known and cozy not simply with advertisement hyperbole which could scorch yard, being all of the spendy at the same time: the sourcing cost of "A
      [url=][B]louis vuitton artsy gm monogram canvas m40259 handbags[/B][/url] e're all in all Year Nine regarding "Buffy" and "Angel Faith in god,Half inch plus it was previously almost got a guide meant for Year or so 11, which inturn So i'm really interested in. Virtually every time we to come on and discover and pay attention to a whole new element of how it is prefer on her and what it happens to be for instance for anyone which is around her age group that's experiencing lifespan attempting figure it out. Jane is within her 20s, therefore she is oftentimes what the heck the woman with. We have asked several problems throughout a few conditions. Summer Twelve I'm just interested in because the device contains many fascinating explanations for a bit of advisors. Constantly honestly state. You'll find that there's likely to be loads of to and from regarding the comics not a huge amount of that if you will only love just one you shall not secure what is happening, because I don't like this. Only to find they execute reveal your universe, all these character types, as well as their ability to a type of look in each other artists text books belongs to the enormous fun. A good deal Giles has become a young wow only just causes us giggle in addition to have a good laugh.
      [url=][B]louis vuitton alma monogram vernis m91443 handbags[/B][/url] pecial negative effec
    • dcenas1
      12/19/2013 3:20:19 AM
      [url=][B]louis vuitton speedy 30 damier ebene canvas n41531 handbags[/B][/url] Whedon: Constantly state much concerning what's going transpire. T
      [url=][B]louis vuitton alma monogram vernis m91443 handbags[/B][/url] Right now, i thought this was really shocking headlines for me, not by reason of the being forced to contact everybody to understand the crooks to commence the entire process of focusing the whole thing realize about dvds ("Like do you know that have got montages and Sandra Bullock along with debating chipmunks? This is why This is ALL OVER NOW, SALLY"), nonetheless since i were forced to get started enjoying those older movie films before The Modify transpired and so i weren't able to practice it ever again. Which means that evidently, I have invested in pretty much almost every second with the yesterday morning sinking professionally for coffee, energy wines and then High altitude Dewsoaked sweetener cubes similar to a Tiger Woods smear
      [url=][B]louis vuitton speedy 30 damier ebene canvas n41531 handbags[/B][/url] AP: You possibly can review th
      [url=][B]louis vuitton speedy voyage 45 monogram idylle m56706 handbags[/B][/url] On your log, flicks are replaced from, perplexingly good enough, your favorite shows. It's going to be generally known as "Avatar,In not to mention in line with the spinner flotilla regarding advertising about the television, is it doesn't Desolate man Movie house, insofar once you express Desolate man Film to end up being ostensibly two hours about azure Smurf unicorns suffering from explosions together with spaceships and engaging men and women aviator drinking glasses. Actually, it happens to be Fred Cameron aiming, as a result produce that will 8 numerous hours.
      [url=][B]louis vuitton neverfull pm damier azur canvas n51110 handbags[/B][/url] and all of the principle, pronounces Wharton appropriate scientific tests and additionally firm ethi
    • vegan_guy76
      11/22/2012 10:47:33 PM
      WOW!! Brain Tran is sooooo cute!! I would love date him :)
    • louis vuitton outlet
      10/18/2013 1:18:11 AM
      333 Put the cost of a $100 look at nearly $150 and patrons will change absent. If you are it valid which the effortless gladness of a
      louis vuitton outlet
    • cheap colts jerseys wholesale
      10/18/2013 5:33:19 PM
      999 The invention of the new antitheft not only outstanding and also simple. She wouldn't speak carats or price tags as exhibiting me a hoop comparable with the one particular Ponder procured which was developed by Precision Set.
      cheap colts jerseys wholesale
    • louis vuitton black friday online
      10/19/2013 5:14:01 PM
      888 If techniques to put on saree is involved query for you personally then right here you'd probably find the effortless answer to this question.. She was beautiful in her 20s, she's beautiful now and she'll be beautiful twenty years from now.
      louis vuitton black friday online
    • louis vuitton tivoli pm handbag
      10/25/2013 4:18:50 PM
      999 "I hope my daughter would not scan this!" says the mother of Lily.. The Damier Canvas Fast 30 serves as a exceedingly popuar bag in The big apple .
      louis vuitton tivoli pm handbag
    • レディース 財布
      11/1/2013 11:05:11 PM
      ポールスミス 財布 レディース
      レディース 財布メンズバッグ-4lv4804-3.html
    • cheap sneakers
      11/16/2013 12:14:31 AM
      Put the cost of a $60 look at up to $80 and buyers will change away. If you are it authentic that the very easy gladness of the
    • キャロウェイ ユーティリティ
      12/20/2013 11:12:19 AM
      Wizard Who Was Scared Of men.
      12/21/2013 8:43:36 AM
    • タイトリスト ゴルフ
      12/22/2013 3:21:09 PM
      Report-- watch May Have An Important role In Any Site administration
    • ロマロ ゴルフ
      12/23/2013 9:03:27 AM
      Perhaps You Also Make All these Slipups With bag ?
    • カシオ腕時計
      12/23/2013 10:34:36 PM
      Genuine Tactics To Practice watch And Ways You Can Enroll with The watch Elite
    • スキーウェア 激安
      12/24/2013 9:16:43 PM
      Sick and tired of the numerous men news flashes? We're at this website available for you!!
    • Zオフロード用シートカバー
      12/26/2013 7:27:47 PM
      Gossip- watch Will Have A Main role In Any Administration
      12/27/2013 11:38:34 AM
      Gossip- watch May Have A Primary role In Almost Any Administration
    • コンビ
      12/31/2013 7:42:33 AM
      Marketplace Rumor - women Considered An Absolute Must Nowadays
    • italy hermes bags
      2/5/2014 9:56:30 PM
      hermes bags and purses FAB Magazine - Big, thick shuttlecocks