Team Yukon badminton athletes in action
Photo By Lee Johnson
A fledgling badminton team from the Yukon has come to the Arctic Winter Games to gain a little more of something they lack. Team Yukon’s inexperience may not be evident when they’re on the court, but truth be told, most members have been playing only since last spring.
The Games are a great experience and character builder for the kids, according to Coach Randy Carlson.
“The team has come here hoping to gain a sense of the Games and mostly to train for the 2008 Games in Yellowknife,” he said. Team Yukon is learning to rise above technical difficulties as well. The gym at Soldotna Middle School has lower ceilings than the team is accustomed to.
“Adjusting to food, facilities, and climate is all part of being a competitor. I tell the kids to pick out what works for them,” said the coach.
Getting the team together to practice has been an added challenge. Four team members live in Whitehorse, which is four hours away from Watson Lake, where Coach Carlson and the other players live. So the Whitehorse athletes had to practice on their own, playing against adult players at the local gym, said Janice Carlson.
“Badminton has a ‘backyard’ stigma. Yet it is a competitive and physical sport that requires mental skills, which is why we like it,” said Coach Carlson.
Though the players had only four weekends to practice together as a full team before coming to the Games, the Carlsons agree that getting here has been worth the effort.
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