The shuttlecock is in Long Island's court, which is both good news and fun news.
A shuttlecock is the "birdie" that badminton competitors bat back and forth across the net. The air will be full of them in July when Suffolk County Community College hosts the U.S. Open Badminton Championship for the first time. The championship is one of 11 major events on the international badminton circuit. For the past 18 years, it took place in Orange County, Calif. This will be the first such event held in the northeastern United States.
Clearly, the tournament won't single-handedly boost Long Island's economy into the stratosphere. A representative of the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the economic impact to be about $400,000. That amount certainly can't hurt, and the metropolitan area does seem like a great place to hold an international event in a sport that's hugely popular in China, Indonesia, India and South Korea. Plus, Long Island does have a badminton connection. The Miller Place High School badminton team amassed what is often referred to as the longest winning streak in team sports history, with 504 victories from 1973 to 2005.
The tournament will use the college's nearly 60,000-square-foot field house in Brentwood, and the school will be paid $80,000 for its use. The U.S. Open offers $120,000 in prizes and should attract participants from 30 nations, as well as fans, to our hotels and restaurants for six days. Organizers say the venue will be set up to allow for as many as 3,000 spectators a day.
Besides being a creative event to pursue, this also seems like it might be a lot of fun. So bring on the top players and fans, the hairpin net shots, flicks, feints, carries and kills. Perhaps by July, as proper hosts should, we'll have learned what all those terms mean.