Bostonia: The Alumni Magazine of Boston University


Origin: The Chinese played the game shuttle-kicking in the fifth century B.C., and ancient Greeks developed a variation more than 2,000 years ago. By the 1600s, “battledore and shuttlecock” was a popular children’s game, and in the mid-nineteenth century, British officers stationed in India added a net, thus inventing a game that looked a lot like modern badminton. Badminton 5.0 was launched in 1873 at Badminton House in Gloucestershire, England, the country estate of the Duke of Beaufort.

Olympic sport: Yes. Debuted in 1992 as a full-medal sport.

Why they play: “Badminton is very energy-intensive and can really train a player’s reflexes. You can’t win by just hitting the shuttle as hard as you can.” Eddie Lau (SMG’11)

Record for speed of shuttle: 206 mph

What good is it? “Roger Federer played badminton when he was a child. People always say Federer has really good footwork. That’s because he played badminton. Any advanced badminton players will tell you that footwork is probably the most important part of badminton.” Eddie Lau


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Origin: The bat-and-ball sport was first played in southern England in the sixteenth century. It spread with the British Empire and is now played in 104 countries.

Why they play: “Most of us in the club have been playing since childhood. Our club includes Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis — major cricket-playing countries — and a few people from the United States and other origins. Cricket is a religion in the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangla­desh, and Sri Lanka). I love this sport because
I get to exert my mind and body.” Ankush Chandra (CAS’11), right arm fast bowler

Firsts: “The first time two countries competed against each other in any sport was a cricket match between the United States and Canada, in 1844.” Ankush Chandra

Olympic sport: No, oddly.

2009-2010 record: 13-4-0

Greatest speed of ball: 90-plus mph



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Curling Club

Origin: Competitions among groups of people sliding stones on frozen ponds and lochs in Scotland were recorded as far back as 1541.

The stone: Traditionally made from a type of granite called ailsite, found on Ailsa Craig, an island off Scotland. Its low water absorption prevents the stone from being eroded by the freezing and melting of water.

Olympic sport: Yes, oddly. Since 1998.

Why they play: “Curling has both a physical and a mental aspect to it. You really have to be thinking ahead and planning out the best shots to take, which will ultimately affect future placement of your team’s stones.” Kellie Borrero (SMG’11)

How it works: “The stones weigh about forty-four pounds. By sweeping in front of the stone harder, it melts the ice and allows the stone to travel farther and straighter. Sweeping less means that the stone will travel slower and will curl, or turn, more.” Kellie Borrero

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Watch this video on YouTube


Boston University’s curling club presidents talk us through the popular Olympic sport.

International Extreme Croquet Society

What it is: A variation of traditional croquet, the game is played in all weather conditions on all kinds of terrain.

Origin: 1920s, on the Long Island estate of Herbert Swope, editor of the New York World, whose course had sand traps, bunkers, and a rough.

Where they play: The BU Beach, the Esplanade, the Boston Common, the College of Communication lawn

2009-2010 record: “The only time we played against another school, we lost.” Zack Kohn (COM’10)

Why they play: “Any­one can play it. There are no boundaries — the course can exist anywhere. You have to take risks. And it’s a little bit offbeat.” Zack Kohn

BU traditions: “Occasionally we dress up while we compete, and we drink tea and eat crumpets after each match. We typically punish the tournament winners by making them perform some absurd task, like taking a dip in the Charles River.” Zack Kohn

Olympic sport: No.

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Watch this video on YouTube

Extreme Croquet

BU’s International Extreme Croquet Society practices along the Charles River.


Origin: Ancient Egypt. A bas-relief in a temple built by Ramsès III circa 1190 B.C. depicts competitors holding a weapon and a shield and wearing a face mask. According to a translation of the hieroglyphs, opponents shouted at each other, “On guard ... and admire what my valiant hand shall make.”

Reaction from people when learning she fences: “I think that everyone secretly wishes that they knew how.” Michelle McInnis (CAS’12), foil

Olympic sport: Yes, since the first Olympic Games, in 1896.

Why they fence: “I started fencing because my friends and I were inspired by all of the swashbuckler movies, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, and I continued fencing because I love it.” Katherine Gillman (CAS’12), foil


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Origin: A descendant of feudal Japanese samurai, whose martial art was just that: a form of combat.

Meaning of the word: “The way of the sword.”

Why they play: “Not only is it a form of exer­cise, but in terms of a martial art, I appreciate the finesse and mental awareness necessary to truly consider myself a martial artist.” Alex Eitoku (CAS’12)

“When I started kendo, my father said to me — and the reason I kept with it, and my attitude toward life — ‘Once a fighter, always a fighter.’” Eugenia Yang (SAR’07, SDM’11), founder of the BU club, who represented Taiwan in the thirteenth World Kendo Champion­ships in Taipei in 2006

Olympic sport: No.

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Watch this video on YouTube


Alex Eitoku and Kathy Liao, members of Boston University’s Kendo Association, describe and demonstrate Kendo nuances.


Origin: Quidditch, the international sport of the wizarding world, was created by author J. K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame. Muggle (Rowling’s word for nonmagical people) quidditch originated in 2005, when a Middlebury College alum adapted the game. Today more than 200 colleges throughout the United States have quidditch teams.

How it’s played: Players run holding a broom between their legs. Each team has seven players: three chasers, two beaters, a keeper, and a seeker. Chasers score points by throwing a quaffle, or volleyball, through one of three hoops (worth ten points) while trying to avoid bludgers, or dodgeballs, that are thrown by beat­ers. (If chasers are hit by a bludger, they must drop the quaffle.) The keeper’s job is to protect the three goalposts, while the seeker must capture the snitch — a sock stuffed with tennis balls carried by a person (typically a cross-country runner) dressed in gold. Capturing the snitch nets an additional thirty points and ends the game.

2009 Intercollegiate Quidditch World Cup, at Middlebury College: BU came in third out of twenty-one teams.

Why they play: “The sport is physical, challenging, and athletic. Many people don’t realize how much of a contact sport it is until they watch a match.” Meredith Withelder (CAS’12), chaser

Olympic sport: Not anytime soon.

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Watch this video on YouTube


Join the BU Muggle Quidditch Team in Middlebury, VT, as they participate in the 2008 Intercollegiate Quidditch World Cup.

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On 11 June 2012 at 2:40 PM, Scott Nalette wrote:

Great article Bostonia... though we certainly want everyone to know that this only scratches the surface of Club Sports available on campus. Check out our list of the FitRec website!

On 10 February 2012 at 1:47 PM, Sean Matlis (CAS) wrote:

What about the Triathlon team? We're sending 13 to Nationals and we're the funnest team around! And you don't have to be any skill level to join. Hidden gem.

On 10 September 2011 at 8:32 PM, LG (SAR'12) wrote:

Would love to try Kendo! But I am so intimidated about being a novice and embarrassing myself. Great article!

On 11 August 2011 at 7:50 AM, Amy wrote:

Great Photos, I really liked the fencing and kendo ones since I've done both. Really Great Photography.

On 7 July 2011 at 2:53 PM, Amanda (COM'13) wrote:

What about Ultimate?

On 21 September 2010 at 1:39 AM, Poker Spielen (CGS) wrote:

excellent points and the details are more precise than somewhere else, thanks.

On 14 September 2010 at 12:48 PM, Chip Auscavitch (GSM'09) wrote:

Men's and Women's Rugby are great sports to be a part of. As someone that's played/coached for 13 years, I strongly recommend it to those that are looking to stay in shape/get in shape, and play a competitive team sport that truly requires all players to work together and support each other. It's a great alternative to football for men, and an opportunity to play a contact sport for women. Both men's and women's teams at BU have seen a lot of recent success.

On 7 September 2010 at 1:39 PM, gary capehart (SED'71) wrote:

I received a nice email from Mr. Lynch the Athletic Director this summer. He explained to me as he saw it why BU will never have a football team again. I thanked him for his time and respectable tone. As we know the demise of football in 97 was on a short list of goals by faculty present since 1971. Yet people like Richie(yes we called you that then!) Cullen and others played on one of the many winning BU football teams in 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 57, 65, 66, 68, 69, 70, 74, 78, 79, 80, 83, 84, 93, and 1994. In other words, during almost all years since WW II BU students have had winning football teams. To say this alone should have kept the program going would oversimplify. Most everything can be improved. When you climb up near the press box at Nickerson Field and then close your eyes, you are looking down on a gridiron. Then they come into play, Agannis, Pino, Budness, Byrd, Lesinski, Farley, Rucker, Hughes, Barry, Calisibetta, etc; etc; etc; Thanks, Gary Capehart

On 4 September 2010 at 8:09 PM, Greg Zoeller (ENG'12) wrote:

Mens Rugby is a mainstay of competitive contact field sports at Boston University. Some of the players on the team play for national teams around the world, while others have very limited experience. The best part is that everyone plays no matter what your experience level. Show some love to the rugby guys and go to their games

On 4 September 2010 at 3:28 PM, BU A Cappalla wrote:

What about the a cappella groups on campus? they each attract a larger audience than most of these "non-varsity" sports. Plus, a physical and mental aspect is involved!

On 3 September 2010 at 10:44 AM, Doc Howie (MET) wrote:

What happened to the Taekwondo team?

On 23 August 2010 at 4:02 PM, Aaron Stanley (CAS'12) wrote:

BU Mens Rugby has been playing since the 70's with a huge supportive alumni base. Rugby made it through new England's and to the Northeast regional last fall. We are looking to improve and make it to nationals this year.

On 11 August 2010 at 10:35 AM, Taylor Aldredge (COM'10) wrote:

Get some coverage of the B.U. Snowboard Team. We just sent 5 competitors to Nationals last year and sport over 120 members, largest club sport on campus.

On 13 July 2010 at 6:10 PM, Rich Cullen (SED'71) wrote:

BU will field a club football team this fall. It would be nice if you could give them some coverage. Thanks, Rich Cullen

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