San Fran Loses Battle With A Badminton Badass

Due to the economy, a lot of local governments have had to raise prices or fees regarding certain hobbies and recreational activities. For instance, in Iowa there was talk of raising the price of hunting and fishing license fees 34% until public outcry caused the state to drop the issue. The same thing happened in Idaho.

Now, in San Francisco there isn’t much hunting or fishing going on, so the local government there has to think of other areas to make some extra money. Which is why the Parks Department decided to start charging badminton players at the city’s public gyms $4 to rent a court for 45 minutes. Of course, the fact that they weren’t charging any of the basketball or volleyball players using the same court kind of ticked off the badminton players (are they called shuttlecockers?), and they didn’t just stand there and take it.


Since January,  Ed Leong has campaigned against new court fees he called “disturbing and unfair” because they particularly affected ethnic Asians, especially Chinese-American players. The retiree collected 200 signatures opposing the charge, presented a petition to Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office, staged a rally in front of City Hall and persistently called local politicians to complain.

“I’ve been playing badminton for 25 years at city facilities, and we were so troubled by the fee,” says Mr. Leong, who plays the game once or twice a week as his primary form of exercise. “I’d suggest to the city that they think twice before taking on us badminton players again.”

It was a bit suspicious of the Parks Department to target the sport that is mostly enjoyed by the city’s Chinese population, but when you consider all the money we Americans have been just handing to China over the last decade, maybe it’s only fair we try to get some of it back.