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Recap: New York Mini Volleyball Tournament at Seward Park
The Department of Education-mandated closure of Seward Park athletic grounds to the public at large had no effect on an annual tournament tradition. For two days this weekend, the enclosed courts held host to the popular New York Mini, a Chinese-American volleyball competition now in its twenty-fifth year.
Seventy teams from around the country descended upon the Lower East Side to compete this year, and with it, the crowds. Most definitely a spectacle both days, especially seeing the culture clash with the Hester Street Fair just next door. Dozens of spectators flooded the sidewalk and courts to watch and/or cheer the proper clubs.
Since 1987, the New York Mini has celebrated this unique variation of volleyball, which employs nine players on each team instead of six. This style of play was adopted in 1920s China after American missionaries introduced the sport in Tai-Shan. More from the New York Mini website:
Throughout the period of The Chinese Exclusion Act , Chinese-American communities began to play in fellowship tournaments. As the laws against immigration and naturalization continued to isolate Chinese Americans, these tournaments united the Chinatown community to bond and forge friendships.
Since that time, even as gentrification gradually shifted Chinese Americans away from Chinatown communities, the game became increasingly popularized within the Asian American volleyball communities across North America.
Today, the New York Mini represents the tradition and heritage that has been passed down from generation to generation and is a opportunity for Asian-Americans to celebrate their heritage and build friendships across the major Asian communities on the East Coast through volleyball.