Tue, May 30 6:30 pm
Nashville, TN" style="padding-top: 8px; position: static;"> East Park 602 Woodland St., Nashville, TN (edit map) In the gym. I am the old hippie. Indoor badminton. All levels of players welcome. This is not the badminton you played in the back yard. Beginners welcome. Come out and learn , work your way up. Great winter fun. Most of us are in our 50's but don't let that fool you. What's possibly the most multicultural sporting activity in Nashville? Maybe not what you think. How about competitive badminton? It's a sport claimed to be among the top in worldwide participation, but something most Americans think of only as a backyard game played at picnics. Most, but not all. In Nashville each week, participants from 17 countries gather in one place to play it. There's a Saigon badminton champion, now in his 80s, who was in prison camp for 10 years after the fall of South Vietnam. An almost-U.S. Olympian who grew up in Ghana and perfected the sport playing on Manhattan Beach. And John Mellencamp’s former personal assistant, who, after moving to Nashville, was looking for the kind of badminton club she grew up with in Germany. Those are the most hardcore. There's also the casual players and recent recruits, including one well-known local coffee entrepreneur Bob Bernstein, who, alongside their diverse set of teammates, found the sport later in life and fell in love with the exercise and fun of chasing the shuttle. Their passion for the sport led them to the Nashville Badminton Association, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the sport of badminton. The group meets in local rec center gyms to play against other worldly lovers of a flick serve and a hairpin drop hit. The want to teach American-born athletes — who have so many sports from which to choose and who usually grow up playing what they watch on TV — to slam the shuttle and celebrate the ace.