Day two of the Wes Schoppe Manhattan Beach Jr. International has come to a close. With over 90 matches played in one day on just five courts, the club holds an atmosphere of excitement. However, something special keeps this tournament relaxed and friendly throughout. The tournament provides a unique opportunity for all players, coaches and parents to interact with different cultures. A shared enthusiasm for the sport bonds people despite differences in clubs, countries and even languages.
Even with the competition, players find time to mingle, make new friends and enjoy each others company. A part of this amiable environment comes from the setup of the club. Unlike others, the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club (MBBC) includes a lounge, pool, and spa area for players to relax in between games. Young players can be seen throughout the day huddled together playing cards and iPad games at the scattered lounge tables. Outside by the pool, others seek shade at picnic tables to converse with friends, both old and new. Those who have played in this tournament before come to see international friends again. Nationality and language make no difference when a commonality such as badminton is discovered. The laid back environment leads to new friends from around the world.
Yoshiko Cohn is a junior at Mira Costa High in Manhattan Beach. Although she has only played badminton for a year, her love for the sport has led her to new opportunities to travel and meet new people from around the country.