Knight Hawks president moving to Gravenhurst
Brownlee looking to create more competition and long-term clubs
SOUTH MUSKOKA - The Knight Hawks’ president is enjoying his last year with the junior badminton club in Bracebridge before he moves his efforts to Gravenhurst.
Warren Brownlee, president for the Knight Hawks, is planning to focus his efforts on the Gravenhurst Badminton Club next year. Brownlee, who lives in Gravenhurst, already coaches there two nights each week, then drives up to Bracebridge on Fridays to coach the Knight Hawks.
However, his farewell to the Bracebridge club is not entirely a goodbye.
“I would like to work in co-operation with the Knight Hawks, especially with the higher end players, the kids that really want to play,” he said.
Brownlee is hoping to work with both Bracebridge and Huntsville to create opportunities each week for skilled players to compete with players from all three towns.
Currently, high-level badminton players in both Huntsville and Gravenhurst play in the adult recreational games. Bracebridge players have the opportunity to play with the Knight Hawks, but may drop out. Brownlee is hoping to eventually channel competition from the three towns into weekly tri-town junior badminton games.
“It’s always been a problem we’ve had with the Knight Hawks because there aren’t enough bodies there to really make it interesting,” he said.
Brownlee began working with junior badminton players in Bracebridge through the high school in the mid-1980s. By 2004, it became a community club and officially became the Knight Hawks.
Two years ago the Gravenhurst Junior Badminton Club began, which Brownlee is now heavily involved with.
Through his move to Gravenhurst, Brownlee is also hoping to get more people involved in the local clubs to keep them sustainable. He said he’s been around long enough to see the rise and fall of badminton and it tends to be a one-person sport.
“In other words, somebody in the town is crazy about badminton and they create a badminton club. When that person dies or leaves, that badminton club disappears,” he said.
He’s looking to create an organization that will continue even after the organizer moves on.
“I want to see if Bracebridge can do that,” he said.
He’s trying to set things up so the next person organizing the Knight Hawks won’t have to do everything Brownlee did. He’s also having meetings in Gravenhurst and is working with parents and students so his role there won’t be as heavy.
“Give them little jobs that are time defined, so a one-year position or a two-year position maximum and then they can get out of it, not a lifetime sentence,” he said.
Besides creating a stronger local badminton organization, Brownlee’s change in location also works toward a personal environmental goal.
“I hate using cars. In the long run I want to live car free,” he said.