Historical Background of Badminton in Spokane
By Lucille Lill (SB & PC Coordinator), September 2002
Back in the late 30’s and 40’s, the sport of Badminton was enjoying a heyday in Spokane with hundreds of players in two established clubs. By far the larger, The Spokane Badminton Club met and played at the Armory. A smaller but lively group played at the YMCA.
With backing from the Spokane Athletic Round Table (today known as the Spokane Regional Sports Commission), these groups were able to sponsor Spokane City Tournaments, Inland Empire Tournaments and even Spokane Open Tournaments, which attracted elite national and international players. In the late 50’s, however, tennis clubs surged and tennis became “the sport,” resulting in the demise of both Badminton clubs.
Lucille Lill, because of her love for Badminton, was very disappointed with this turn of events and tried to revive Badminton interest. For some time, she tried to promote organized play at the YMCA. Later, when teaching at North Central High School, she obtained permission to secure evening play time in the girl’s gym. Neither of these attempts was very successful. In desperation, she finally, after her retirement, enrolled in a Badminton class at Spokane Falls. This gave Lucille some personal satisfaction as the instructor, who was not experienced in the sport, would often turn the class over to her, and in due time several of the boys became quite skilled and competitive.
In 1980, Lucille’s dreams of a rebirth of a Spokane Badminton Club became reality. That was the year the West Central Community Center was being built. Since the Lills live in close proximity, Lucille wandered down and asked if they would paint lines on the gym floor for Badminton courts. The response: “Badminton, what’s that?” After lengthy explanations, Lucille was given permission to tape two courts for a trial period. Trying to recruit some of the former Badminton players and to promote interest for non-Badminton players was a challenge but, with a handful of players, the club had a beginning.
After two years, the center painted lines for us on 2 courts. It was about then that Pickleball (which is played on roughly the same court as badminton) became a very popular sport at Spokane Falls Community College and drifted over to our players. For a time then, interest in Pickleball surpassed the original interest of many of the Badminton players, so we added the “and Pickleball” to our club name and became, “The Spokane Badminton and Pickleball Club”.
Then came an influx of Indian Badminton players and our predominantly Pickleball players were challenged. Once again the majority of the group became Badminton enthusiasts. Now, in 2002, we find ourselves a multiracial group of enthusiastic players.
Lucille also credits Marion and Jack Harvey for the renewed and sustained interest in Spokane Badminton. When they began attending regularly, they quickly gained the respect and admiration of our players and have been most inspiring to them. They have also contributed their time and talents to promoting the sport in Spokane and to the development of a juniors’ program. As there are no other public facilities for Pickleball in Spokane, we keep out the welcome mat for Pickleball players. It is also an individual sport worth promoting and it has been part of the evolution of our club.
Spokane Badminton Club TODAY
By Eric Lee (SBC Board Member), June 2013
With the advent of a second local Spokane Pickleball Club, Pickleball was dropped from the activities of the club. The Spokane Badminton Club (SBC), as it is today, was formed in 2010 from the merger of the existing the Spokane Badminton and Pickleball Club SBPC adult and the (2001) Shuttlefreaks Junior Badminton programs.
The SBC was formed in an effort to connect local Badminton enthusiasts and create a tighter community within the sport for players of all ages. The newly created club constantly strives to find ways to increase opportunities for both adult and junior play through open gyms, lessons and junior summer camps.
SBC is now offering beginner lessons that are made up of a series of group sessions that are being used to encourage more involvement and skill development in Badminton throughout the Spokane area. Players are taught basic techniques and skills including shot making, footwork, and strategic play. These classes are offered at $10 per person, per session for players of all skill levels and ages and are set up by appointment.
Lessons are typically held at West Central Community Center (WCCC) or the Spokane Valley HUB (HUB) with an average of 4-6 students per session. Courts are available for all players throughout the year on Tuesdays (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.) at the HUB and Wednesdays (7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.) and Sundays (3:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) at the WCCC.
Costs per person, per session are $5 at the HUB and $6 at the WCCC. In addition, a court is available at a local athletic club (Oz Fitness) where play is for members only.
If you are interested in joining or have any other questions about the Spokane Badminton Club, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.