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Badminton, making a comeback, draws enthusiasts to Harbour Pointe Badminton Club

Apr 26, 2017
Badminton has been steadily growing in popularity, with athletes finding it a challenging sport, fitness buffs enjoying its all-around workout, and enthusiasts from all walks of life – no matter their age or skill level – agreeing badminton is just plain fun. Stop by the Harbour Pointe Badminton Club in Mukilteo virtually any weeknight or weekend, and you'll witness plenty of action with players from 5 to 85.

For many, the game of badminton conjures up memories of 4th of July picnics and Sunday church potlucks, a leisurely sport that people of all ages and abilities could play.

So it was a wakeup call in 1992 when badminton debuted in competition at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, and viewers witnessed the breakneck speed of the game and the stunning skill of the players as they battled in jaw-dropping rallies that elicited gasps and cheers alike.

Both perspectives remain true today. The game itself has been steadily growing in popularity, with athletes finding it a challenging sport, fitness buffs enjoying its all-around workout, and enthusiasts from all walks of life – no matter their age or skill level – agreeing badminton is just plain fun.

Residents of south Snohomish County and north King County now have an opportunity to join the fun with the opening of a world-class facility here, the Harbour Pointe Badminton Club in Mukilteo.

The second of two clubs founded by the Bellevue Badminton Club, LLC  (the first having opened in Bellevue), the new facility boasts 12 courts, a pro shop, locker rooms, TV and lounge, and offers professional coaching, junior and adult lessons, dynamic ladders and league play.

Headed by company president Geoff Stensland, the Harbour Pointe Badminton Club is managed by his son, Curtis Stensland. Not surprisingly, both are enthusiastic advocates.

“We have built a world class facility in your neighborhood,” Curtis Stensland said. “It’s a highly intensive sport that requires eye-hand coordination, but that can be played by all ages.”

“It’s a sport you can play all your life,” Geoff Stensland said. “From age 5 on up. It’s a sport that’s both aerobic and anaerobic – the best type for fitness.”

The Harbour Pointe Badminton Club has members as young as 5 and as old as 80. Regulars include entire families, senior citizens playing with their grandchildren, co-workers getting together after work, and singles showing up and finding a game.

Similar to tennis, badminton has the advantage of being played on a smaller court, so people with limited mobility don’t have to travel far. In addition, you don’t waste time chasing after rolling balls; the shuttlecock – also called a shuttle or bird – stops dead in its track when it hits the floor.

Consequently, you get a lot more play in. But there’s plenty of time to socialize during play, too. It all fits neatly into the club’s focus on “family, fitness and fun.”

Geoff Stensland, who has been playing badminton for 50 years, won a junior national title in his youth. They have hired world-class coaches, too, including one from the 2008 Olympic team and another who was a national champion.

If you’re curious, you can drop by and rent everything you need. You’ll find a welcoming atmosphere, with members ready and willing to offer assistance and advice.

“Our members are welcoming and friendly,” Curtis Stensland said. “Everyone is eager to help.”

Should you decide to take the plunge, membership costs are low and, while lessons aren’t necessary, Curtis Stensland says most players discover the game is even more fun “if you learn how to do it right.”

Unlike other sports where size and speed sometimes win out, badminton is more flexible; you can develop a winning approach that works for your size and skill level.

“It’s highly customizable,” Curtis Stensland said. “You can win a game in many ways.”

And the workout can’t be beat by any health club routine.

“I wouldn’t go if I was just sitting on a stationary bike,” Geoff Stensland said. “You get bored to tears.”

He’s a walking testament to its benefits, too, with low blood pressure and a 42-beats-per-minute heart rate.

For young athletes interested in pursuing other sports as well, badminton is ideal for developing hand-eye coordination skills. And for players interested in mental challenges as well as a fun workout, badminton commands quick decision-making and chess-level strategy skills.

Because it’s a non-contact sport, parents don’t have to worry about concussions or other contact-related injuries.

Regular players are assigned to rotary ladders so they’re playing with others at similar skill levels. Serious players can enter tournaments; upcoming events include a Junior Invitational Team tournament April 14-17 and a Kin On Charity Tournament on June 10.

Want to see for yourself what’s possible? Take a few minutes to watch a video like this one: https://youtu.be/iF4WtG-34RE

Better yet, stop by Harbour Pointe Badminton Club. It’s at 3616 South Road, Building D, Mukilteo, WA 98275.

It’s open 5-10 p.m. weekdays, 10-10 Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call (425) 374-8094, email info@harbourpointebc.com or visit their website at http://harbourpointebc.com/.

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