Life is all about opportunities. And anyone can tell you if you don’t answer the door when opportunity comes knocking, then you’re really not trying. One man who knows about opportunity is Chad Cargill, head coach of the RDC badminton team.
“I played for two years at Red Deer College. And then I played for two years at NAIT. NAIT is where my game went to the next level. And I had a great coach there by the name of Jordan Richey,” said Cargill. Richey still coaches there to this day and is the man who Cargill credits for getting him into coaching as well.
After that he played with Alan Chow. “I get a lot from him and his roommate is Jon Vandervet.” Vandervet is a former national champion in badminton. Cargill would get together quite often with the badminton stars. “Twice a week I would go train with those guys.”
Cargill trained with a national champion and provincial champion and believes iron sharpens iron. “It’s another level. That was a great opportunity for me to learn. I learned a lot from those guys.”
And now Cargill is trying to pass it on to his team at RDC who currently sits in second place in the ACAC badminton standings.
And to pass on his experience, Cargill is looking first to his strong female contingent of badminton players.
“My leader for sure is Mary Smith,” said Cargill. “She went to nationals last year in mixed doubles. She also won the first singles tournament of the year.”
It was opportunity that came knocking when Mizuki Awai came to RDC through the College’s sister school in Hokkaido, Japan. Awai was spotted playing intramural badminton for fun but Cargill saw more.
“They didn’t even know it was try-outs. They just came out and started playing and when I saw them I thought I have to get those girls.”
Cargill is confident in his female and male squads. He’s just up against tougher competition in the male league. “My guys are actually pretty strong. The only problem is the rest of the league is very strong.”
Which may have prompted him to look for more opportunities to make his team stronger. “We actually got Dave King, who plays on the men’s volleyball team. When he’s able to, he plays mixed doubles.”
Cargill likes what he sees in King. “He’s extremely strong.”
And you should take the opportunity to catch the badminton team play in Edmonton or even practice here in Red Deer if you get the chance.
“It would be nice if we played in Red Deer. It’s high level badminton and I don’t think people appreciate that.”
Even other athletes marvel at the skills of the badminton team said Cargill. “It’s always funny because the volleyball team or the soccer team will come to the gym before they travel and just watch badminton if we’re playing and they’re always floored. They say this is unbelievable!”
The opportunity to see the Kings and Queens badminton team play could be a closing door. With Mount Royal moving to the CIS next year, there may not be a program for RDC and the two remaining ACAC schools with badminton teams.
This year is also the last year to see Cargill coach the badminton team. He’s taking advantage of another opportunity, to play dad.