Badminton, Delivered by the Greek Gods


Did Badminton come from the Greek Gods? Badminton is perhaps the perfect sport. It makes sense then that it came from the Gods. Badminton players have been told that the origin of the game comes from India where a game called “Poona” was played during the 18th Century. In the 1860s it was adopted by British Army officers stationed in India and brought back to England. In 1873 the Duke of Beaufort at his estate called Badminton held a party and the game was born.


However, after we review a more detailed look at history we find that a badminton like game was known in ancient Greece. Two players hit a feathered shuttlecock back and forth with tiny racquets. Such information prompted this writer to explore the (theoretical) historical origins of the game and determine whether there is any additional support for the idea that badminton may well have been delivered by the Greek Gods. Accordingly to assist in this discovery of truth, I engaged an artist from the Ringling College of Arts and Design here in Florida, one of the top art schools in the country, to see if there was any hidden meaning in any of the famous Greek Statues. We were fortunate in getting Polina Napartovich, a top student at Ringling and perhaps more importantly an avid and accomplished badminton player to assist in this quest for truth. She was able to determine that there was something very interesting in the form of the Greek Statues. Incorporating forensic art analysis she was able to show that these statues were actually early representations of badminton players. She then created detailed representations of what these statues would have looked like while playing badminton. This is a major discovery and leads to the prospective foundation that badminton must have come from the Greek Gods.


Greek Gods deliver badminton to the world. It starts to make sense, if it came from the Gods, as our art recreations clearly demonstrate, it would have to be the perfect game.


Defining the perfect game is of course difficult. Badminton certainly is popular and based on many accounts is the second most played sport in the world and is most likely the most played sport by adults. Football/Soccer is of course very popular, however, you don’t generally see a lot of people in the later stages of their life, playing football. Conversely, you do with badminton. You see players from 4 to 94 years of age playing badminton. The Gods of course live a long time and would want a sport that they could play throughout their reign. For us mere mortals, they delivered a game that could be played throughout one’s life.


Let’s continue with a forensic analysis of the sport and couple that with our artistic findings. The question is, what’s required to play the game? For one, lightning reflexes are required. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Zeus is known for using lightning bolts. Athena is the God of strategy, endurance and skill. She is the daughter of Zeus. Athena, it is said, was birthed from Zeus’s forehead. So Zeus provides the lighting and Athena the skill, strategy and endurance. This godlike combination is the embodiment of badminton.


Badminton is not only a fast sport but can lay claim to having the fastest moving object in all sports (bullets shot from a gun don’t count, you do don’t play with bullets, and if you did you certainly wouldn’t be around very long). A badminton smash can travel over 250 mph in game conditions and close to a virtually unfathomable 300 mph in lab conditions. For comparison, the fastest tennis serves are 100 mph slower and the fastest pitch in baseball is only a third as fast as a top badminton smash. Therefore, the Greek Gods designed the fastest game.


Research now shows that they also designed the healthiest game. We all know that physical activity is good for us. A recent study published in Science Daily, showed that after researchers studied 122,000 patients over a 23 year time period, they found not exercising is as bad for your health as smoking, having diabetes or heart disease. The study further showed that aerobic activities such as running and swimming are especially good and lead to a longer life span. Conclusive proof confirms the value of aerobic sports. Surely then these are the sports of Gods. But aerobic capacity is merely one aspect of badminton. The impact of a fully body workout with the integration of strategic decision making, coupled with the requirement for lighting fast reflexes, adds so much more. Once again we turn to research to verify this point. A nine year study of 80,000 individuals in Europe addressed the issue of whether exercise can ward off death either from cardiovascular disease or from other causes and whether different sports can keep us alive longer than others. Intuitively we believe that a sport delivered by the Gods would offer us a longer and healthier life, and it does!


After all the research was compiled they found that aerobic activities lower the risk of death due to heart disease by an impressive 36% for running, and by 41% for swimming. The message is clear, run or swim to lower your risk. Now, what about the sport from the Gods? Playing badminton reduces your risk of death due to heart disease by an amazing 59%!


Let’s go beyond heart disease and consider the risk of death for ALL reasons. The Gods were kind to us when they gave us badminton not only is it fun but when you incorporate the health factor, the sport saves lives. Other sports, such as running and swimming reduce the risk of death for all reasons by approximately 28%. In comparison, badminton reduces the risk of death for all reasons by 47%.


I think the requirement for lighting reflexes (thanks to Zeus) certainly leads to the ability to quickly react to potential danger. Quick reaction time is needed when riding a bike or driving a car. Athena’s contribution of the strategic assessment clearly contributes to a player’s ability to analyze a situation and then use their quick reflexes to react. Avoiding a fall, reacting to danger in advance, is enhanced as a result of playing badminton.


What more could you ask for in a sport created by the Gods. Badminton is fun. Play it your entire life, develop lighting reflexes, employ strategic reasoning and provide unparalleled health benefits. What else could you ask for? Money? Yes! Other sports such as tennis, football, and basketball have athletes that earn more than badminton players do, for now. That perspective is currently changing. The world’s elite male badminton players have a net worth in multiple millions. Female players such as P.V Sindhu from India, make more in endorsements then all but three women athletes in the world. Badminton’s financial benefits are growing. Ten years from now many top earners in sports will be badminton players.


All of the evidence helps us arrive at the conclusion that indeed badminton must have been delivered to us by the Greek Gods. Many thanks to our forensic artist Polina Napartovich for discovering the true meaning behind the famous Greek Statues and so vividly demonstrating early badminton form. It’s now understandable why badminton a sport that is so healthy, life extending, universally played, and great fun, was delivered to us by the Greek Gods.


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