On any given Wednesday night, the King’s gym is covered by a mountain of badminton shuttles.
After being poured out of several massive bags, the shuttles are used by the King’s badminton team for all kinds of rallies, serves and other techniques.
There are over 200 shuttles in the gym and each one is used for badminton practice.
They serve as a testament to the perseverance of the badminton team, and all King’s athletes, some of the hardest working students at this university.
“We practice four days a week,” said Maddie Alvarez, a second-year member of the King’s badminton team and winner of the ACAA Badminton Female Rookie of the Year award for 2012-2013. “Mostly because of class I only make it to three of those practices.”
“You have to decide if it’s worth it to go to class.”
Managing time between athletics and academics is a difficult task, but one that all King’s athletes need to master.
“They should be able to budget their time,” said Ryan McIntosh, coach for the King’s badminton team. “I expect them to show up for practice and work hard.”
“Everyone has really crazy schedules,” Alvarez said. “It’s a balancing act.”
While scheduling can breed conflict with school work, McIntosh is always willing to show students support so they can enjoy the sports they love.
“If they do need extra help for school, then I can definitely take it into account for their attendance,” he said. “I always talk to them about it.”
This sense of community, something vital for varsity sports, is noticeably absent between the King’s sports teams and the rest of the campus.
“We don’t get a lot of turnout,” McIntosh said, referring to the lack of students at varsity games. “It’s mainly just parents.”
“People should go out to games more,” Alvarez said. “They’re good games to watch and it builds school community.”
Although McIntosh has seen an increase in attendance over the past few years, he still sees room for improvement.
“It’s still not where it should be,” he said. “Support would be much appreciated.”
A major reason for low turnout is the placement of King’s games, which often take place away from campus, making it difficult for students to attend.
“There definitely is support,” said Anders Jorgen, a fourth-year student on the King’s soccer team. “But it’s hard to arouse interest on campus because people will have to travel away from campus.
“The turnout is decent considering this. Each year is getting better.”
Another issue concerning attendance is the lack of advertising and general awareness for the King’s teams. McIntosh sees this as part of the general disconnect between the athletic and academic sides of King’s.
“They’ve never really intertwined sports and academics,” he said. “They keep them separate, in a way.
“The whole school should get behind our teams.”
— Ryan McIntosh, King’s badminton coach
“The whole school should get behind our teams,” he added. “It would probably make them perform a lot better, to be honest.”
Building a community spirit between the athletic and academic parts of King’s is a difficult task, one that Jorgen is addressing with his intramural program, CUBE.
CUBE, which takes place in the King’s gym on Tuesday and Thursday nights, hosts sporting events such as dodge ball, soccer and even musical chairs. It’s open to the King’s community and Jorgen sees it as a gateway to involvement with King’s athletics.
“Part of the reason my passion for soccer got re-ignited was from coming to CUBE sessions,” he said. “I had a great time, met a lot of great people and after two years of that I was so into playing sports that I wanted to play on a competitive team.”
Jorgen, who has placed several advertisements for CUBE throughout King’s, has focused on creating a fun King’s environment.
“It’s about getting exercise in a healthy, community-oriented way,” he said.
By making CUBE a welcoming, community-minded space, Jorgen sees the program as a wedge between athletics and academics.
“They can be pretty distant at times,” he said. “Sometimes they feel like two different worlds and I think CUBE is bridging that gap.”
While connecting sports with academics at King’s is a mountain of a task, it’s not impossible. And nowhere near as daunting as the mountain of shuttles.