Badminton tournament

Rocky Gao and Mei Ono

The sharp whacks of colliding rackets and birdies echoed over the diligent grunts of badminton players as they battled for control of the court. Athletes invaded the bleachers and courts, eager to finally compete against new opponents during Northwood’s first badminton tournament, held at Irvine High School on Feb. 29. 

Among the winners were sophomores Nikko Mei and James Wu for beginner doubles, and junior Maxwell Shih and his partner from Irvine High School for advanced doubles. Winners were awarded with handmade badminton birdie keychains.

“It was a really nice experience being able to compete and bond with people from other high schools,” Shih said. 

Northwood’s badminton club, Birds of a Feather, collaborated with Irvine High School’s badminton club to organize this district-wide tournament including University High School and Woodbridge High School. A board meeting with members from participating high schools was organized to help plan the event. They hoped to spread the beauty of badminton to fresh faces in the form of a friendly competition. Among the many benefits of the badminton tournament was meeting new people who share a similar interest.

“Our club got its name from the famous proverb, ‘birds of a feather flock together,’” Birds of a Feather president senior Shannon Leo said. “We aim to promote teamwork and collaboration and foster a friendly and supportive community where students can relax.”

To highlight both the fierce nature of the sport as well as the welcoming atmosphere of its community, Leo and the other board members made sure to give the players as much contact with each other as possible. Badminton players from across IUSD enjoyed the generous playing time, testing their abilities against a variety of athletes from different schools and making the tournament loud and lively.

“I thought it was really fun to play with people that I’ve never met before,” sophomore Andrea Houng said. “I got to play a lot of badminton which was enjoyable. I’m still not as good at badminton but I felt like I learned a bit from the tournament.” 

The experience broadened the eyes of participants and board members alike, and has left the Birds of a Feather club eager for future tournaments. 

“We hope to continue improving and expanding our club and spreading our passion for badminton through tournaments with other high schools in the future,” Leo said. “All students are welcome to join our club!”

Meeting every Monday at the Gym, the members of Birds of a Feather are excited to rally with experienced and beginner players alike.