Badminton moves out of the backyard

Daniel B. Wood in the Christian Science Monitor:

P3aThrough Aug. 21, some of the best athletes from 52 countries are competing in the first World International Badminton Federation Championships to be held in the United States.

As they do, two stories unfold.

One: This is not your father’s backyard-barbecue badminton – played with racquet in one hand, lemonade or hotdog in the other. Top Olympic-quality athletes who have trained five to six hours daily, six to seven days a week for decades, are exhibiting peak form and concentration.

For those in the know, it turns out, this is not exactly fresh news. But, officials say, the vast majority of Americans, locked into the cultural-norm sports of baseball, basketball, and football – are not in the know.

Two: The very fact that the US is hosting its first world championship is – as several officials, participants, and audience members repeat ad infinitum – a very big deal.

More here.