A Personal Tribute to Dave Waddell

by Margaret Thom

For those who don't know, back in the 1950's Dave Waddell was responsible for getting both the Ontario Badminton Association (OBA) and the Ottawa District Badminton Association (ODBA) back on track as functioning organizations.

My first involvement with Dave came in the late 50's when, as a junior with the Commerce Badminton Club, we ventured out to play at Fisher Park Badminton Club (Dave) and at All Saints Badminton Club (Edith Hayman). Shortly after that, the RA Badminton Club opened and most competitive senior and junior players in the City gravitated to the RA where Dave was coaching juniors. I should add that prior to the RA opening Dave had been involved with the architects and the RA convincing them that by adding another four rows of cement block at the top of the gym facility it would result in the facility meeting international standards for height clearance.

In the late 1950's the Ontario Junior Under 19 tournament was held in Ottawa. Dave and Edith had a great idea - let the Ottawa juniors, under their guidance, form the tournament committee. From them we were instructed on how to do a draw, how to run the Grant System, how to obtain prizes and how to run the draw desk. For me it was a first experience at the administrative side of badminton and I learned.

Throughout the 1960's Dave managed on several occasions to get some top international players to visit Ottawa and put on badminton exhibitions. Getting to work on those committees chaired by Dave was an experience. We learned about international protocol in greeting and seating invited ambassadors and government officials, how to stage such an event, and how to run the evening's activities. I learned that you do these events with class in order to put a positive face on badminton.

Again throughout the 60's and 70's I was on the ODBA executives, many times with Dave. Through that period many events happened. There were the initial years of government funding. For most of us planning and budget were things we had not encountered in the badminton world, but Dave was the voice of reason and knowledge. Instead of adopting an attitude that you wait to see what funding you are going to get and then figure out to do with it, Dave said how can you spend money if you don't have programs and plans in place to which funding can be allocated. ODBA came up with the best program and budget submissions OBA ever had. We learned. And then, there was the experience of attending OBA meetings as an ODBA rep. Dave was in his element at these meetings more than often pointing out to the Chair the proper conduct of meetings and rules of order. We learned from him proper meeting procedures and, the importance of being prepared for the meeting you are attending and, most significantly we learned by-laws of ODBA and OBA and the importance of adhering to them as the governing document of your association.

With a few of us sitting around Dave's kitchen table at 116 Britannia Road, Dave got carrying on about how badminton should be a 12 month of the year activity in Ottawa now that the RA was open all year. What about a summer tournament he said and, so began what is now the RA Summer Tournament. We learned that even if you have an off-beat idea, go for it and see what happens.

1975 saw the ODBA hosting the Canadian Senior and Junior National Championships at the University of Ottawa, the last year these two events were held together. Dave chaired the Committee and guess what; a few of us who had been on the junior committee at the end of 50's were working on this committee. Dave had innovations in 1975 Nationals it was the first computer generated draw, matches were announced via an in-house closed circuit TV arrangement and we learned what was involved and what it took to host national tournaments.

Dave also made us aware that organized badminton was responsible for all levels of play from elite competitive players to the so called recreational players. Having attended numerous coaching clinics with Dave I am reminded of a comment of his regarding coaching recreational level players. Dave said if you think you are coaching correctly, just put your racquet in your opposite hand and then try and execute what you have been telling other people to do. Yes, we learned from that experience.

At the end of the 1970's the new wing at the RA was under construction and again Dave fought with the RA and the architect about the facility. As a result of his input we now enjoy one of the best badminton facilities in the country.

Finally, came the time that Dave moved from Ottawa to Ancaster, Ontario. I was proud to be on the ODBA Executive which enacted a by-law amendment to put the position of Honorary President in place and to be present when Dave was presented with this honour. To the best of my knowledge, it remains the only Honorary President distinction ever awarded by ODBA.

In the early 1980's my husband, Keith Hollands, died. He had been, like his good friend Dave, tremendously involved in badminton. Dave was instrumental in having OBA establish the Keith Holland Endowment for the benefit of recreational badminton in Ontario as well as the Keith Hollands Award given annually to a top volunteer in the Province. For those gestures, I am forever grateful.

What an honour it was to be in Toronto in 2000 when Keith (posthumously) and Dave were inducted into the OBA Hall of Fame at the same time.

So, with Dave's friendship, mentoring and guidance over the years I have ended up serving on ODBA for over 25 years in many capacities including President; was an ODBA rep to OBA for many years; was OBA Secretary for 2 years; served on numerous Badminton Canada Committees, particularly recreation; chaired a Thomas Cup tie; and, have co-hosted three Canadian Masters Badminton Championships. What memories.

So, it is good-bye to a great friend.