Economics professor Michael Fabritius wins silver at National Senior Olympics
Centre faculty are known for being at the top of their professional fields. But some of them, including economics professor Michael Fabritius, are also tops at other, less scholarly, endeavors.
Fabritius recently won second place in badminton in his age bracket at the biannual National Senior Olympics in Houston, Texas. Fabritius was one of two players representing Kentucky in Houston after qualifying at the state competition in Louisville.
Not one to brag, Fabritius is modest about his victory, which he earned after several rounds of play.
“I competed for three days and won my first six matches — which is pretty good. That put me in the finals,” Fabritius says. “I played a really nice guy from Los Angeles in the finals. He was really gifted and he beat me, but I can’t tell you how happy I was to get the silver medal.”
Fabritius, who was a tennis coach at Southwestern University, became interested in playing badminton as a substitute for racquetball while teaching at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas.
“At Mary Hardin-Baylor, they didn’t have racquetball courts, but they played badminton. One of the guys I played with there has won in his age bracket in nationals four times. There were some really good players, so without racquetball we’d play badminton all the time,” Fabritius says. “I still play tennis, but I like badminton the most.”
Although badminton may not have a reputation for being an intense sport, Fabritius says most people would be surprised at how physically exhausting the game is.
“People think, ‘Why would anyone play badminton?’ But when you get people out there for the first time, they’re like, ‘Wait!’” Fabritius says. “You should see us play. We play fast. I certainly get more tired playing badminton than playing tennis and racquetball. This is quicker and it takes more energy.”
Fabritius is not the only badminton player at Centre. In fact, a badminton club — which includes faculty, staff and students — plays regularly during the school year.
“I enjoy getting to know the students. We play, have a good time and try to get better,” Fabritius says. “Someone has a great shot and you say something nice — it’s camaraderie.”
Having fun and enjoying the game are what playing badminton is all about to Fabritius.
“Even at nationals, [badminton] is just fun to watch. Watching these guys play is like watching a great tennis player. When you see what they can do with the bird, it’s just fun to watch,” Fabritius says. “The mindset is, ‘I want to beat you, but I want to beat you fair and square and when I’m done I want to be your friend. I’ll do my best, you’ll do your best — whoever wins, that’s their day, and we’ll move on and play other people.’”
Although Fabritius’ second-place win at the National Senior Olympics this year is still fresh, he’s already looking forward to the next games in Cleveland in 2013.
“It’ll be fun to see these guys again two years from now,” he says. “It was enjoyable to be there this year, because it’s great to see wonderful players and play against good people.”