OAKLAND ‒ According to Oakland High’s badminton coach, Christopher Johnston, the Oakland Athletics League has officially started its badminton season with its first home game against Coliseum College Preparatory Academy on Friday, April 8, 2016.
Oakland High’s badminton team is off to a fantastic start with a complete win against the new and upcoming CCPA. 10 winning singles and 5 double matches were strategically arranged by Johnston to account for the absences of the captain and co-captain who were missing for academic reasons.
“I feel amped and nervous at the same time,” said sophomore Angela Ma before her first match. “I just hope I would have a good experience.”
The gym of the Oakland High Wildcats was especially tense, as no cheering for the team or players were allowed. You could see the concentration and efforts dripping off of the players’ sweat as they chased after the speeding yellow birdie intuitively. Beneath the friendly facade passed between the players of CCPA and Oakland High, you would have heard the girls’ competitiveness breaking through the nerve-wracking silence in the power of each echoed shot.
The girls’ badminton team will be representing Oakland High as one of four participating high schools in the Oakland Unified School District. Oakland High and Coliseum College Prep Academy players both had astounding team play. The tiring day closed off with a friendly high fives ritual and a booming cheer: “Good game!”
Ma said, “[Badminton] means quite a bit to me, because I can focus on playing if I feel stressed.”
Badminton, as well as any other sport, helps students to obtain the necessary Physical Education credits to graduate while improving yourself, both physically and mentally. Students learn communication and strategic skills; they can use this experience to guide them in other aspects of life.
In the past three years, Oakland High has been continuously ranked third, always fighting for the number two spot with Oakland Technical High School, but never beating first ranked Skyline High School.
All the students involved in badminton are training relentlessly to achieve their goal. Oakland High representatives are hoping to make a winning comeback in 2016 before the end of the month long season.
Despite the common assumption that badminton is a children’s’ game, both the players and the coach think otherwise. Playing badminton requires quick decision thinking followed by solid hand-eye coordination. It is a fiercely competitive sport that is much more difficult than what meets the eye. This is a powerful community with its own set of rules to thrill. As Chris Johnston said, “Yes, this is a sport.”