Written by CAPA-JRC reporter Joy Jiang
On November 26-27, 2022, the Chinese American Parents Association (CAPA) Run and Hit Tennis Club (RHTC) hosted a family doubles tennis tournament in partnership with the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC). The purpose of the tournament was threefold: to celebrate CCACC’s 40th anniversary, promote physical activity, and support family bonding on a Thanksgiving weekend.
The tournament was held over the course of two days. On the first day, the original 24 teams were split into groups of 4, playing round robin-style matches against the other teams in their groups. The winners of each group were determined by the total number of games that they had won, and these teams would automatically move onto the next day’s elimination tournament. The teams that placed second in their group played each other in the evening, with 2 teams being selected to continue to the next day.
Tournament play commences on Saturday, November 26. (Photo credits: Jessica Zhang)
From the beginning of the process of organizing the tournament, CCACC and RHTC recognized that they had similar goals. They both aimed to “promote physical activity and help [their] community” which is what drew them to each other in the first place, said RHTC Club Mentor Fengkai Zhang. The organizations’ collaboration was so successful because they each had access to different resources: RHTC had volunteers and more experience with tennis-specific events, while CCACC had access to the indoor tennis courts, which was especially valuable in the winter.
Tournament organizers and competitors pose for a photo after the awards ceremony. (image credits: RHTC)
The tournament also served as a way to raise awareness of the tennis resources that CCACC now has to the Chinese American community. CCACC’s mission focuses on supporting the Chinese American community, and they recently acquired QOSTC earlier this May. “We wanted to have this event to let the Chinese American community know that we have these facilities here and to welcome them to come here and play,” CCACC Swim and Tennis Club Director Phil Zen said. “Most of the time, out of the community members who come here [to QOSTC] to play tennis, it is only 15-20% Chinese youth, but from this tournament, I’ve seen a lot of Chinese youth and families and I really hope that they will continue to use these facilities in the future.”
Many participants were grateful for the chance to play tennis with their family members, whether that be with a sibling or with a parent. “I thought that this event that they organized was great because it gave [my daughter and I] the opportunity for the first time to play doubles together,” said Yipeng Chen, a competitor in the tournament. “[My daughter] was also really happy to play.” Chen and his daughter, Raelyn, won the tournament after playing more than 6 matches.
Others also enjoyed the tactical challenge that playing doubles presents. “One of the things I enjoyed most was being able to change my strategy depending on who I was playing and cooperating with my dad,” said middle school student Grace Shao, who competed in the tournament with her dad.
After seeing the enthusiastic reception to this tournament, RHTC and CCACC have already started making plans to host more events like this one in the future. As of now, they are thinking about hosting this as either an annual tournament or hosting several similar tournaments throughout the course of the year.
The tournament’s players have also already expressed interest in more future tournaments. “If there is another of this kind of tournament next year, we would still want to participate,” Chen said.
Overall, the tournament allowed participants to foster connections within both their family and their community through friendly competition. “Many families and players not only competed with each other, but also really enjoyed spending time together here,” Zhang said. “We’re using tennis events as a bridge to connect people.”
This article was provided by Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club (CAPA JRC) with members who interviewed, audio recorded, wrote, translated, and video recorded. CAPA JRC has 25 Montgomery County middle to high school students. They have created a bilingual platform delivering news and serving the community.