Patriot Ledger: QARI looks to badminton, ping pong to build community

By Sean Philip Cotter 
The Patriot Ledger

QUINCY — Kids standing three a side flailed away at the shuttlecock, knocking it back and forth a few times over the badminton net ion one portion of the South Shore YMCA’s gym.

Around the corner, two adults who clearly were skilled badminton players were going at it on a larger, regulation-size court, sometimes smashing the shuttlecock to drive the other player back and then trying to lightly drop in a lob when their foe was off balance.

After more and more people continued to turn up for the Sunday night badminton and table tennis club put on by the South Shore YMCA and Quincy Asian Resources, the Y will begin to offer it as as package in their spring sports session.

Philip Chong, the chief executive officer of Quincy Asian Resources, said his organization, which is commonly known as QARI, teamed up with the Y because to bring some sports particularly popular in Asian countries to the area.

“As an Asian, we grew up with that,” Chong said.

Chong, who simled and describes himself as a “pretty good” badminton player, said sports are a great way to bring people together.

“It’s a great community-builder,” he said.

Chong remembers saving up money as a kid in Hong Kong for a nice new badminton racquet. He said he had the racquet for the following three decades — until it broke the first Sunday night at the Y a few weeks ago.

“There’s some irony,” he said.

The YMCA closes every Sunday at 6 p.m., but the staff has been keeping the gym open for another three hours each of the past several weeks for the badminton and ping pong club, for which people have been able to come in and play for free.

It started out as about 30 people coming each Sunday, and that number has doubled in the six-week run, said Erik Abboud, the organization’s associate executive director.

“We realized there was a need to do more,” he said.

On Sunday, the gym The league has people In a fourth area, players filled a half-dozen ping pong tables, bouncing the little white balls back and forth.

So it’s going to be some hybrid of a club and a league, where people who sign up can just come play for fun and learn the games, while more advanced players can play each other more competitively.

This past Sunday, the gym had been cordoned off into a few different areas for people of different skill levels.

“I come every week,” said Amy Zdanowicz, an adult who was playing with some of the kids.

She said she is loving learning the game, and it’s great exercise.

The club is taking a few weeks off an then becoming part of the YMCA’s Spring session offerings with an eight-week program beginning April 22. Registration opens Monday for YMCA members and Thursday for everyone else at ssymca.org or 617-479-8500. Members can join for free; it’s $70 for non-members.