Ask members of the Williams Lake Badminton Club, and they’ll say longtime players Dot Chinner and Clay Myers are the life of the group.
Chinner turns 88 on March 3. while Myers, who is the president of the WLBC, is 85. Both are avid, dedicated, competitive and respected players within the club, which meets each Monday and Wednesday night in Williams Lake to play badminton at the Lake City secondary Columneetza and Williams Lake campuses, respectively.
“I started in 1972 here,” Chinner said. “Some of the players are very competitive, but it’s mostly a social club, and a fun night out.”
Chinner said she treats the sport of badminton as a way to stay active, healthy and to socialize.
“I’ve always been active in sports,” she said. “I played softball, volleyball, soccer, tennis, fishing, ping pong and, of course, badminton. It’s mostly just really good exercise.”
She joked now at “her age” she has to rely more on strategy, rather than strength.
“I hit it where they aren’t,” she laughed.
Myers, meanwhile, started playing badminton in Williams Lake in 1970, and said the WLBC already had a strong player base.
He took over as president of the club in 1995.
“I just really liked the sport,” he said. “I played hockey, ball, a bit of tennis and all that, but badminton was good exercise, and I kind of started playing as an adult. I grew up in the Prairies and we never had anything like that there.”
“I’m just very active. I exercise a lot, and just try to keep active as much as I can.”
Currently with a membership of about 30 players, each Monday and Wednesday six courts are setup in the gym for doubles WLBC play. Players mix and match on teams, swapping out when they need a break.
“We’ve lost some members and gained a lot of new members,” Myers said. “Recently we’ve grown quite a bit over the past couple of years.”
Asked what she likes about the sport of badminton, Chinner said it’s something she’s been able to get a great amount of enjoyment from for the majority of her life.
“It’s a sport you can play your whole life,” she said. “It’s also a sport families can play together. We used to have just adults come out but now the kids are coming as well, which is great to see.”
While the sport doesn’t receive a ton of exposure in Canada, Myers said Williams Lake has seen a fair amount of competitive badminton in year’s past.
In 1995 Williams Lake played host to the BC Winter Games where badminton was a featured sport. Myers, at the time, competed at the Games. Chinner, however, was forced to miss the event due to an ACL injury.
Then, in 2002, Williams Lake played host to the 14 and under BC Winter games, where many adult badminton players volunteered at the event.
“We’re always looking for new members,” Myers said. “Kids are welcome, and people can register through the city’s Recreation Services at the complex.”
The current fall session of the WLBC wraps up March 11, however, the spring session, which runs throughout the month of April, is currently open.
“This year if seems the club has really taken off,” Chinner said .”We’ve had all six courts going almost every night.”