On May 28, 2011, the badminton world lost one of the key builders of the sport in Mississauga when Don Rogerson, my father, passed away in his 91st year. Although long retired from his role as president and founder of the Mississauga Badminton Federation and Erindale Junior Badminton Club, right up to the end, he still maintained his interest in the progress of the club and the lives of the young people he had helped sculpt and shape.
where he became the VP of sales and which prompted the decision to move our family to Mississauga. In September of 1963, Dad started the first junior badminton club at Tomken Road Senior Public. 40 kids showed up without even advertising the program. The Director of Parks and Recreation in Mississauga came by to check on this new program and insisted that Dad move it up the road to the Applewood Secondary School to accommodate the growing demand. Here he joined forces with other volunteers to start an instructional program that continued to grow. The following year’s registration saw 100 children show up. Many came from Malton and Dad recruited two parent volunteers from that area. In September of 1965, when 200 kids registered with almost half of them from Malton, Dad asked Parks and Rec for a school in the Malton area and was given Morningstar Public to which half of the Applewood Club moved. In 1967, Dad started a new Club, the Erindale Junior Badminton Club at the recently opened Erindale Secondary School. With three clubs operating, he started the Mississauga Badminton Federation to incorporate all three clubs under this umbrella.
In the words of Roger and Margaret Wallis, founders of the Etobicoke Jr. Club, “Don was a true gentleman: kind, generous, fair, interested, enthusiastic, and dedicated. Don made a huge contribution to badminton overall, but especially at the base of the pyramid, providing young people with a place to learn to play and then helping them to achieve their best.” From an early age, Dad always had a love of sports. He started writing a sports column for the Mimico newspaper while in high school. In exchange for his popular column, he was given a press pass for free entry to cover lacrosse and baseball games. An excellent baseball player himself, he made a name for himself in the Toronto area as an up and coming young centerfielder. He was inquired after by one of the scouts for the Pittsburgh Pirates but didn’t get the opportunity to see where that may have led. He’d been called to war the previous day to do his part as a signalman on corvettes during World War II. Upon his return to Mimico after the war, Dad started playing ball again. One day, a young boy recognized the lanky centerfielder walking down the street and asked if he would teach him and a few of his friends how to play ball. When Dad showed up at the ball diamond that Sunday, there were about 50 kids there eager to play. With that much enthusiasm, Dad decided to start a kids’ baseball league. Thus was the start of Dad’s many volunteer years as an organizer and instructor in bringing the joy of sport to young players.
While playing baseball at Earl’s Court diamond in Toronto, Dad noticed a beautiful young woman who’d been at many of his games; his future bride, Shirley. After Mom and Dad got married in 1954, they moved to Guelph. Always one to do anything he set his mind to, Dad decided that he would build his own house. With the help of an architect friend, Dad built the family home. Always lending her support and a hard worker, Mom was right up there on the roof hammering away while 8 months pregnant, eager to complete the house before their 1st child, Donna was born. I think Dad hung up his hammer right after the completion of the house, though, because while I found it amazing that he’d actually built it, I don’t remember him doing much in the way of fixing things around the house. Years later my husband, Doug, gave my
Nick Volpe is handing Don the award for his induction into the Mississauga Hall of Fame (2011). Nick was an inductee in 1981 for his involvement in football (Toronto Argonaut 2 Grey Cup triumphs) mom a tool belt because she was always the handyperson in our family - not Dad! Although Dad didn’t construct any more houses, he did continue his passion in building and developing sports programs for kids. Still playing baseball in Fergus, he took up badminton to keep in shape during the winter months. Noting that there were no kids playing badminton at the Guelph armory where he and Mom played, he started up instructional classes for kids there. One of the earliest memories of badminton that my sister, brother and I shared, was as toddlers with racquets almost a big as us, hitting the bird suspended from the rafters in the basement. Years later in Mississauga, while many kids were shooting hoops with their fathers in their driveway, we were hitting birds with our father on the court he’d painted on the asphalt parking area of our driveway. Later still, the court was used as a dance floor when I got married outside at home. After my brother, Rob, was born, Dad was offered a job at Vanguard Steel in New Toronto
While we were children and well into our teens, our whole family life was centered around badminton. Mom helped organize and run club tournaments and acted as Treasurer. My brother, sister and I were playing in tournaments almost every weekend throughout the winter. As a NCCP level 3 coach, Dad spent many hours in the early morning and evening hours as well as Saturdays and Sundays training 9 provincial champions during his tenure. Dad and other parents would drive the competitive group off to Kitchener, Woodstock, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Hull, Lewiston, NY, and Flint, MI as well as many local tournaments. As we got older and more competitive one of Dad’s philosophies was that if somehow we couldn’t outplay other clubs, we could certainly try to outlast them! Before our practices we ran for at least 1/2 hr either outside or through the school halls in the winter. After running practice we would have another 1/2 hour of exercises to warm up before play. All this physical activity led the Erindale players to be among the fittest on the circuit at the time. Dad was constantly striving to improve his coaching skills and bring new ideas to the club. He and one of the instructors from Malton travelled to an instructor’s conference in Sweden to upgrade their coaching levels. Many dinnertime discussions were based on new instructional ideas Dad would bounce off us to constantly improve the skills and create interest on the part of the young players. Very young beginners were moved from station to station where after learning to “shake hands with the racquet”, they developed their hand-eye coordination through various games like the balloon bounce, scooping the bird out of the air or off
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