Fun, safe and affordable. It is for those reasons, along with the physical activity and camaraderie, that badminton players keep returning each season to the Alberni Athletic Hall.
The indoor racket sport, open to all ages, has just begun a new season and is open to all levels and abilities.
For longtime player Larry Spencer, the sport is quite an active one in Port Alberni.
“I have been playing for about 40 years,” Spencer said. “I started as a kid and played in the old Athletic Hall and now play in the new one.”
Spencer said there have only been minimal changes over the years. The main one is in terms of membership: numbers are down.
“It used to be large,” he said. “We have about 10 to 20 active members now but we used to have about 100.”
Spencer said a lot of youth are still playing and expects a similar overflowing attendance as last year at the tournament, hosted locally in February 2017.
“It is social and affordable,” he said. “The club has rackets and birds are supplied. You just need non-marking shoes.”
Since the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the rules changed to adhere to rally point scoring, but otherwise everything else is the same.
The season recently started and offers drop-in sessions on Mondays and Thursdays at the Athletic Hall.
Juniors aged eight to 12 go from 6-7 p.m. and 13 to 18 year-olds play from 7-8 p.m.
Adults play the same days from 8-10 p.m.