Out There Badminton (OTB), a recreational badminton group targeted at LGBT people, is opening up and accepting new players for the September-June season.
Thomas Novak created OTB in September of 2010. OTB is one sports group from the overarching organization, Out There Sports and Recreation, which was formed on July 16, 2002 by a dozen members of the LGBT community.
"I started (Out There Badminton) as an opportunity for people in the LGBT community to socialize and to have fun, and as an alternative to the bar," Novak explained. "And I had some friends that really liked playing badminton."
From September to June, participants can expect to engage in several skills workshops throughout the season taught by a skilled coach. Once in a while, Novak said OTB hosts an in-house badminton tournament for fun. Participants meet at a location every Friday — except for long weekends and holidays — to play and practise badminton from 7 to 10 p.m.
OTB usually took place at General Wolfe School (661 Banning St.), but Novak and OTB members Jean Delfosse and Joel Lanip are currently in discussion with the Winnipeg School Division about where they will play this year.
"It’s either here at General Wolfe or Gordon Bell," Delfosse said, cautioning interested participants to stay tuned for details.
Delfosse said if OTB ends up at Gordon Bell, it would be fine with him, because he would be able to access a whole new group of people in another area.
Novak said the main reason for the creation of OTB is simply to have non-competitive, recreational fun.
"What’s good about this is we’re not competitive. You don’t have to come every Friday," Delfosse said. "People do drop in, play for a few months, leave, and then come back."
Novak said a common experience for many LGBT people is the discomfort and isolation they felt playing sports when they were adolescents.
"A lot of LGBT people might have really enjoyed sports but never got involved because of feelings of not being good enough, feelings of not being wanted," Novak said. "So playing with other LGBT people provides a wonderful feeling of security, safety, and not being judged."
"High school was terrible because I didn’t play sports," Delfosse said. "I was on the sidelines while they were playing what they were playing, and I didn’t join in."
Novak said while OTB is mainly for the LGBT community, non-LGBT people are also welcome to play with them.
For more information about OTB or other sports that are part of Out There Recreation and Sport, visit gaycanada.com/outthere
To register for OTB, email firstname.lastname@example.org