Spotlight: Girls badminton, golf and tennis


Kath Shelden

Junior Ava Lachmann practices putting on March 3.

Kath Shelden and Mya Vo


Sophomore Leanna Marukyan practices a forehand stroke on March 4. (Kath Shelden)

Senior captain Alice Taylor said that badminton is a relatively new sport at Inglemoor, and the current team is about half new recruits, thanks to shortened seasons caused by COVID for the last two years. 

Junior Kelsey MacKenzie said that badminton generally gets less recognition and respect compared to other sports. She said this is an issue with several girls sports, especially those assumed to be less physically challenging, like badminton and golf. 

“There’s definitely a bigger focus on football, basketball and swim and dive,” MacKenzie said. “I barely hear anything about badminton. No one talks about golf and tennis.” MacKenzie also said that the girls tennis team won every match they played last year but still didn’t receive recognition.

MacKenzie said this is an issue particularly in press coverage of the badminton team. She said that she understands that it has been difficult to cover the team since it is relatively new and most of their seasons have occurred during years where COVID-19 affected their season.

“I don’t remember seeing anything about badminton on GMI, which is a little sad,” MacKenzie said. “It’d be cool if this year they did a feature on badminton. Because they do that with most sports.”

Taylor said that although badminton may not seem physically challenging, it is a precise sport that takes a lot of skill. She said that many people don’t respect the sport or think that the players aren’t competitive. Taylor said this impacts the players because it undermines their dedication to the sport.

“Every time I mention I play badminton, everyone I’ve spoken to is like, ‘Ah, yeah, I could beat you,’” Taylor said. “You would never say that with another sport.”

MacKenzie said that although the badminton team itself is very supportive and constructive, some of the rules in the game can promote toxicity. She said that the lack of referees at the team’s matches can lead to conflicting calls during a match. 

“You use different lines for out of bounds between the singles and doubles. And people on other teams will confuse you. They’ll be like ‘No, that’s the wrong line,’” MacKenzie said. “Because we don’t have refs, it’s agreed between the two teams or the two players. And sometimes you think you saw it and they disagree with you.”

Taylor said that although she doesn’t feel respected when she tells people that she plays badminton, and the sport is mentally and physically difficult, the team remains positive and supportive. She said the team celebrates the end of the season with a potluck, where they honor the seniors and talk about the season.

“At the end of each year, we normally do a potluck where we all dress up and we celebrate the season,” Taylor said. “It’s something to look forward to every year. It’s exciting. It’s definitely signaling the end of the season and we’re saying ‘bye’ to all the seniors.”



Junior Ava Lachmann practices putting on March 3. (Kath Shelden)

Junior co-captain Caroline Bush said that when most people think of golf, they think of old, rich white men in polo shirts. The girls golf team manages to have fun even while combating the many stereotypes surrounding golf, Bush said. The team has several fun traditions, including going to Dick’s Drive-In before practices and celebrating each others’ successes with mementos.

“[Coach] McCausland hands out these golden golf balls for someone who does something good at matches,” said Bush. “I remember I got my first gold golf ball and I was like, ‘oh my God.’ That’s my favorite tradition because it always makes people so happy to get this shiny little golf ball.”

Bush said that the girls golf team is often given much less respect than the boys golf team. They said they think that the inherent sexism within the sport is the primary cause of this, as well as a general lack of respect for less physically taxing sports. In golf, female players start at a closer distance to the hole than male players do. 

“In order to get on the boys golf team, you have to try out. And it’s more widely spoken about,” Bush said. “Traditionally, when you refer to golf, people think ‘oh, rich white men.’ Thinking about girls playing golf is usually not the first thing that people think of. They’re usually like the caddy girls — the girls that drive the golf carts around for men.” 

Bush said that it can be very difficult to mentally prepare herself to play and that she often has to give herself a pep talk beforehand. In addition, junior co-captain Allie Fey said that the individuality of the sport can be a hard thing to deal with as a player. She said that since golf is a primarily mental sport, it can be very disheartening when a player is having a bad day. 

“It’s a sport that’s pretty much on your own and you can’t rely on teammates if you’re having a bad day — you can’t lean on them as much. It’s all your own work that you have to put into it. And mentally that can be really hard,” Fey said. “If you’re struggling, you have to get yourself out of that rut. You can’t count on anybody else to do it for you.”

Fey said the girls golf team primarily practices at the Inglewood Golf Course, but they have to practice elsewhere on Wednesdays. 

“The reason we can’t play on Wednesdays at Inglewood is because they have men’s day down there. And so we’re not allowed to practice down there,” Fey said. “They have a women’s day, like a woman’s time, but that’s on the weekend. So we can’t really do anything with that.”

Bush said that golf can be an inaccessible sport for many people due to the stereotypes surrounding it as well as the expenses that come with it. But both Fey and Bush said that the girls golf team is very accommodating and tries to make it easy for people to start playing the sport, regardless of ability to purchase equipment.

“Golf is a hard sport because you do have to buy a lot of equipment and it can be expensive. And that is a problem,” said Fey. “But they are also accommodating: I think they have clubs that you can use if you don’t have your own.”



Freshman Megan Liao practices a forehand on March 1. (Mya Vo)

The girls tennis team prides itself on its strong sense of teamwork and camaraderie, said senior co-captain Alyssa Chinn. Chinn has played tennis since she was in middle school, and said that teamwork is a large part of the reason she loves being a part of the girls tennis team.

“I also love our tennis season because it’s all about camaraderie and being a team, even when tennis is an individual sport. So just having that sense of team spirit is what really gets you back to the sport,” said Chinn.

Chinn said team traditions and building team spirit are her favorite parts of being on the team. She also said that one of her favorite memories of a tennis match was making state with her doubles partner in her freshman year. The game was four and a half hours long because the game was formatted so they had to play out the third set and there was a tie both times. 

Senior team co-captain Yana Pathak said that she has played tennis since she was eight years old, and she enjoys the sport because she can keep active and be part of a team. 

“I love the people, and even more the tennis team. They’re all so nice and I just love talking to them and hanging out with them,” said Pathak. “But I love the adrenaline rush and I feel like it’s a great way of working out because it’s a whole body workout, and it just keeps me healthy.”

Pathak also said the skills she learned from playing tennis have helped her in other areas of her life. 

“I feel like tennis has allowed me to find myself as a team player, as well as an individual by myself, because I’ve played in both aspects — singles and doubles and I feel like it’s carried on to other things because I’ve learned to be independent, as well as trust and rely on other people.”