Skip

Second Most Popular (Unwatched) Sport.
July 22, 2008 1:16 PM   Subscribe

What's the second most popular sport in the world after soccer? Badminton. (According to some sources - volleyball and cricket are also contenders.) When played competitively, badminton looks more like this and less like this. The Chinese are poised to win Gold in Beijing, while the American team, featuring star player Howard Bach gets no love.
posted by grapefruitmoon (31 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
So no Welsh rapping at the Olympics then?
posted by GuyZero at 1:22 PM on July 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was just thinking what it would take for Badminton to become popular as a competitive sport in the U.S.

Perhaps if the players used broadswords, as as opposed to (or in addition to) Badminton rackets!

Hold on... I think I have just created a new reality TV show. I need to call FOX.
posted by neilgorman at 1:30 PM on July 22, 2008


I stumbled across a badminton event on cable one night and was utterly captivated and amazed. Considering the dreck that passes for sports in ESPNs programming, I have to think badminton could easily pull some respectable ratings on the right night.
Of course, I've always been amazed that ESPN's Friday Night Sumo didn't last long...
posted by Thorzdad at 1:31 PM on July 22, 2008


"WE'RE NO. 2!

But after that, it gets a bit tricky. Apparently, there are all sorts of ways to calculate popularity: Pickup games? Number of affiliated national federations? Most competitions? Number of spectators? Although everybody seems to be afraid of taking on soccer, just about any sport can claim to be the second most popular sport in the world. Online, you'll find the "second most popular" claim from team handball, basketball, table tennis, judo, volleyball, cricket, bocce, dragon boat racing, and more."

Chicago Sun-Times - March 04, 2007.
posted by cashman at 1:32 PM on July 22, 2008


I was hoping you meant this Badminton. Far more exciting.
posted by grounded at 1:32 PM on July 22, 2008


shuttlecock.
posted by clearly at 1:34 PM on July 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, I'm sure that competitive badminton is rather difficult and requires quite a bit more coordination and athleticism than I have. Still, it just doesn't look very impressive.
posted by oddman at 1:37 PM on July 22, 2008


I had a gym teacher who had supposedly done to school on a badminton scholarship. He would often challenge soon-to-be-frustrated students to a friendly game, and he would win just about every single time without breaking a sweat. He had mastered the art of hitting it far when his opponent was close and hitting it close when his opponent was far, barely moving his feet at all. Then again, we were all idiots when it came to badminton, so I wonder what a game with him would look like against someone with comparable talents.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:37 PM on July 22, 2008


Clearly just demonstrated why it will never go over well in the US. The mere idea that a bunch of men might be doing something on national television which could be described as "standing around wacking a kind of cock" is enough to drive the kind of prudes who control our airwaves into a complete tizzy.
posted by quin at 1:42 PM on July 22, 2008


After soccer/football, there is nothing.

But I did buy a badminton racket for 5GBP once, because I fancied a girl - I think we were both about 14. So that's ok then.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 1:44 PM on July 22, 2008


Real, competitive badminton is an excellent sport. I've never quite understood why it was consistently presented as a backyard pastime like tetherball, rather than a competitive sport (and I'm sure that there's someone out there shaking their head and wondering the same thing about tetherball...).

Badminton is far more accessible than tennis: less expensive equipment, more compact, saner scoring system. Perhaps it's because the shuttle is more difficult to see on a TV than a tennis ball? Perhaps it's the already heavily institutionalized sports in Canada, the US, and Europe where Badminton is relegated to the B-team after soccer, football, baseball, basketball, and ice hockey?
posted by C.Batt at 1:46 PM on July 22, 2008


Apart from the Olympics, the premier badminton tournaments would be the Thomas and Uber Cups. The men's game have traditionally been dominated by the Chinese and the Indonesians, while the US women have apparently won the Uber Cup 3 times.

Winning the Thomas Cup was a big deal in 1992, the last time we (Malaysia) won it. I remember watching the final with rapt attention, as rumor had it that were we to win the Cup that year the following day would be declared a public holiday.

We finally a very closely contested final 3-2) and the public holiday was duly announced on the late night news.
posted by Anderson_Localized at 1:52 PM on July 22, 2008


*We finally won*
posted by Anderson_Localized at 1:54 PM on July 22, 2008


It's hard to imagine a sport that is wussier and less cool than tennis, but then someone reminds me that badminton exists.

Maybe if badminton players start grunting, it'll become as edgy and cool as tennis. Oh, and it needs a MacEnroe and a few lesbians. And hot hot sister-on-sister action (of the non-lesbian kind).
posted by Eideteker at 2:09 PM on July 22, 2008


I can't see the shuttle, so it's like guys standing around--and not moving much--and waving sticks at the air, sort of like they're being attacked by biting flies.
posted by goatdog at 2:12 PM on July 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


guys standing around--and not moving much--and waving sticks at the air, sort of like they're being attacked by biting flies.

And that is why it's the second most popular sport in the world.
posted by davejay at 2:19 PM on July 22, 2008


This sport will go nowhere until someone figures out how to make it "extreme".
posted by blue_beetle at 2:24 PM on July 22, 2008




Among other oddities I see at my day job, I continue to be flabbergasted at how many damn college students take badminton for credit. TONS AND TONS OF THEM.

Seriously, not getting the appeal, other than "shuttlecocks don't hurt nearly so bad as other balls to the head."
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:36 PM on July 22, 2008


It's a sport that requires relatively little running when played at an amateur level and relatively little equipment. If the colleges have mandatory Physical Education credits and Archery is filled up, you have to take something.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:50 PM on July 22, 2008


It's a sport that requires relatively little running when played at an amateur level

If both players are actually trying to win, even novice badminton requires a lot of running.
posted by Pyry at 3:01 PM on July 22, 2008


Extreme Badminton, as demonstrated by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese, is a sport where Americans really could excel. Now... to get it into the Olympics...
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:05 PM on July 22, 2008


Extremer Badminton.
posted by GuyZero at 3:07 PM on July 22, 2008


Badminton is far more accessible than tennis: less expensive equipment, more compact, saner scoring system. Perhaps it's because the shuttle is more difficult to see on a TV than a tennis ball?

I think that might have something to do with it. Quite a number of sports have made rules to become more TV-friendly. Table tennis has a revamped simpler scoring system and larger balls compared to a few years back. Volleyball has simpler scoring as well, and the female teams are required to wear skimpy tight outfits (at least in high-level competition like the world championships). The world fencing federation wanted to add see-through plexiglass windows to the fencing helmets a few years back so people could see the faces or at least eyes of the players, but those things got steamed up too much, and it seems that never went through.

So perhaps it they come up with some way to make the shuttlecocks more visible it might work a bit better on TV.
posted by bjrn at 3:10 PM on July 22, 2008


Oh well. If the Olympics don't work out maybe you Americans could have a "World Series" of it or something.
posted by Artw at 3:27 PM on July 22, 2008


I'd watch it if it looked more like this.
posted by ericbop at 4:54 PM on July 22, 2008


Badminton is far more accessible than tennis.

Not really. I can't think of many other sports that must be played indoors. Here in San Diego the only places to play besides colleges are usually only open once or twice a week, and subject to early closure for other events.
The scoring system has been greatly simplified in recent years. You used to only score points on your serve; now a point is scored every time, essentially halving game time.


Seriously, not getting the appeal, other than "shuttlecocks don't hurt nearly so bad as other balls to the head."


I'm guessing you're not very good at the game. smashing is a blast, as is pretending to drive and then doing a drop shot. And of course it can easily be played co-ed, and a lot of hot girls play.
posted by Citizen Premier at 5:18 PM on July 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I continue to be flabbergasted at how many damn college students take badminton for credit. TONS AND TONS OF THEM.
Because required PE classes suck and badminton is generally the way to fill the requirement with the least possible effort. You don't need to change, you don't need to go off campus or somewhere far away, and even at MIT I was one of only two people in my class spastic enough to look uncoordinated while playing badminton.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 6:01 PM on July 22, 2008


Sticherbeast: I had a gym teacher who had supposedly [g]one to school on a badminton scholarship. He would often challenge soon-to-be-frustrated students to a friendly game, and he would win just about every single time without breaking a sweat.
Wait a sec, did you go to the same school with vronksy?!
posted by hincandenza at 6:32 PM on July 22, 2008


With regards to playing badminton indoors, no you don't have to play it indoors (although it really helps).

Most kids in Malaysia at least ALWAYS start playing outdoors, and in the older built primary schools the badminton courts were always outside.

As an individual sport, badminton is fun. Like Citizen Premier, I enjoy running around on the court and faking shots. Making people run around is part of the fun!
posted by Naoko Kensaku at 11:05 PM on July 22, 2008


I play weekly with some mates. Each of us trek from various parts of London to attempt to shuttlecock the shit out of each other at the Sobell Centre down Holloway Road.

Its got a short learning curve, lends itself to both power and precision player-types and is seriously athletic if you play it properly. It can also be played as one-on-one, doubles or even two-on-one if you really want to work up a sweat.

As others have mentioned, it can also be a serious thinking sport - I'm not the most powerful player on court nor the most precise, but I consistently win against those who are - mainly because I'm far better at faking them out and reading shot-types than they are.

What's not to love?

Oh and anyone who says its pain-free has never been on the receiving end of a full smash to the face - and I've lost count of the number of sprained ankles and knee-knacks we've acrued over the years. Its not a sport that's very forgiving on the ol' leg joints.
posted by garius at 5:27 AM on July 23, 2008


« Older "Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones!"   |   music Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post