The Malden Teen Enrichment Center Hosts a Successful Badminton Tournament

“Personally, I think that it’s important to have a nice, healthy level of competition amongst people,” Jay Ortiz, who hosts the badminton tournaments at the Malden Teen Enrichment Center (MTEC), stated. 

MTEC has been hosting badminton and ping-pong tournaments since last year but had to take a small pause because they had other things going on at the time. Since it has been brought back up, people have seemed to really enjoy them.

“We ideally try to get them going at least once or twice a month but it varies depending on the season. Right now it’s winter so kids don’t always come out because they don’t want to walk too far, so sometimes we don’t get to have that opportunity but we’ve been kicking it back into gear.” Ortiz said.

Ortiz explaining the rules for the tournament. HASET TESFAW

The rules to the game on 2/2/24 were: “First to 11 if both teams are tied 10-10, then it’d be first to 15. After every two serves, we switch to the other team and then your team would just switch placements. So whoever served, let’s say player 1 served, after the next 2 points are earned, whether it was on your team or their team, they switch, so now player 2 serves, and player 1 stays in the back. But at that point, it would switch to the other team, so we’re just kind of mixing and matching to see who’s best at being at the front and who’s best at being at the back,” Ortiz explained. 

The teams were chosen in a way that everyone would get a chance to play against each other. They played in a rotation so that this would be possible. 

“We started off with just three teams so rather than just having a three-match set I wanted team 1 to go against team 2, and then team 1 would go against 3, that way they got a chance to go against both teams. After that team 2 would go against team 3, that way they also got a chance to go against both teams, and then from that point on whatever team wasn’t doing so well, I wanted to give them a chance to play again,” Ortiz stated.

Ortiz started off the game by putting on some upbeat music to get everyone motivated. The game between teams 1 and 2 was very suspenseful, as they tied 10-10 which meant that the first to 15 would be the winner. 

Scoreboard for teams one and two. HASET TESFAW

After team 1 was announced the winner, everyone continued to play in a rotation so that everyone could get a turn.

Ortiz also focused on making the teams based on skill so that it would be completely fair for everyone. “We try our best to make it so that the people who are playing together are of varying skill levels or at the very least if they are a level above, they know how to tone it down so that other people can get their chance to play,” he explained. 

“The tournaments are really fun. It’s pretty fair because the teams are based on skill level so I thought that was nice,” Tempest Chen, one of the players, said. 

Unfortunately, Ortiz was not aware that the day they booked the event was the same day as the GBL meet for those in track, so some of the kids were forced to back out. “Even though we didn’t have as many teams as we wanted we still got a pretty good turnout and everyone got the chance to play more than once so even if they lost it wasn’t like they were completely out of the match.” 

“We always try to make sure that nothing is ever a single elimination, so if someone happens to lose whether it’s because they fought someone who was really good or they just didn’t know how to play very well, we try and give them at least two or three more chances to get back in the game,” he continued.

At the end, they handed out snacks for the prizes and blizzard bags for kids to take on their way out. “We normally give them out when the weather’s not doing so well, but we’re actually going to be turning them into a weekend type of bag so the kids get a chance to bring some food home. Whether they have some food at home or not doesn’t necessarily matter, but they have at least a chance to get some extra food on top of that,” Ortiz explained. 

They also added gloves or hats in some of the bags so that if the kids got too cold they would have something to wear, and food to eat. 

The teen center hopes to have tournaments going on every month, but not just badminton tournaments. “There are people who are really good at the physical stuff like baseball, football, pool, ping-pong, etc., but we also want to give the chance to kids who are not so physically capable.” Ortiz said, “Whether it’s because they don’t really want to play the games or maybe they’re a little anxious or uncomfortable playing in front of other people, we want to give them the ability to play different games like Fifa, 2K, or even smash bros.” 

Ortiz then continued to explain how almost everyone can play in ping-pong or badminton tournaments since it has a pretty low skill ceiling when it comes to starting off.

“Those games are usually the easiest to get people to start with, plus we can do things like 2 V 2’s, so you can always pick a friend and even if you and your friend are bad, you have the opportunity to play against each other, have some fun, and learn along the way.”

Many players who came were returning players, those who attended for more practice, or just to have some fun with friends. “This isn’t my first time playing badminton. I play casually,” Chen said.

“We tend to always see new faces whenever we see the tournaments going but we also see returning faces which is great,” Ortiz stated.

The Malden Teen Center is open from 2:30 to 8:00 and strongly encourages you to come by and check it out. “If you guys haven’t come by to the teen center please do come by, we serve food every single day. Everything about us is free, so come in, sign a quick membership form, get yourself a card, and after that, you only have to sign in once every time you come in and that’s it,” Ortiz finished. 

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