By Darren Lum
Published May 16 2017
Ben Schmidt might have only finished in the semi-finals of the C flight at the all-provincials in badminton but he is eager to return next season.
The Grade 11 Haliburton Highlands Secondary School athlete earned his berth in boys’ singles at provincials by placing first at the Central Ontario Secondary School Association championship.
He enjoyed his Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations experience for the competition on the court and off. He also benefitted from watching high calibre players at the tournament.
This was his second consecutive trip to the all-provincials for badminton. He attended with the senior squad last year. Schmidt and his doubles partner Jaydon Wood finished first at COSSA and then went on to finish seventh in the B flight at OFSAA that year.
This experience allowed him to focus on the tournament more.
“I was a little more nervous last year. This year I wasn’t really nervous so I was pretty focused. I knew what to expect” he said.
The highlight of the tournament for Schmidt was when he narrowly missed a chance to enter the B flight after a straight two-game loss 20-22 and 19-21 on the first day of competition.
Although he lost this match he was proud of his effort and execution against a tough competitor.
He acknowledges there was an expectation for him to go to OFSAA like his three older brothers Jesse Darcy and Caleb who went before him.
The youngest of four had family support from his dad Bob and his brothers including past OFSAA finalist Darcy Schmidt.
His dad and coach was happy for him but was also happy there was a school representative who earned a spot at the all-provincials.
“It’s nice to have that experience and see some success. Train hard and see the success. It’s nice to see whether it’s badminton or whatever sport” he said.
It’s early but there is some consideration for his son to compete in mixed doubles since it is the one category he hasn’t tried yet he said.
Ben doesn’t prefer doubles but recognizes getting to OFSAA will depend on the competition. Right now there is another strong competitor at the COSSA level that adds to the challenge.
His dad appreciated his son’s efforts to help make the entire team play better with advice and playing with and against his teammates in practice.
“I’m usually the one that’s getting trained but training other people is different” he said. “I learn in different ways. When you train people you look at their shot. [You figure out] what to do.”
An added wrinkle to OFSAA next year is a possible rule change to divide single men/women competitors by their status as a club player or non-club players.
Only one club player will be allowed to represent his or her region. The key will be how OFSAA decides who is a club player. This has not been decided but one consideration is a club player is among the top 50 ranked players as decided by the provincial club competition circuit.