Hong Kong students catch up at annual basketball weekend

Ashley Lau

While the men’s basketball team faced off against Purdue University Saturday afternoon, the Hong Kong Students’ Association held its own intercollegiate basketball tournament in Patten Gymnasium.

At about 11 a.m., throngs of students from several Midwest universities gathered in Patten, with participants wearing jerseys and sweatshirts bearing the names of their respective schools. By noon, the sounds of squeaky sneakers moving across the courts and spectators exchanging words in native Cantonese dialect filled the three-court gymnasium.

“It’s not often that you can hold an Asian basketball tournament,” said Weinberg senior Irene Chan, the association’s president. “So I think to have a basketball tournament open to all Asians, and everyone actually, draws people together to raise awareness for the Hong Kong Students Association.”

The competition, hosted every winter at Northwestern, brought together students from the University of Chicago, Michigan State University, Purdue University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois and NU. Some students drove as many as four or five hours just to play in the tournament, Chan said.

“We want to bring the Hong Kong people in the Midwest – not only at Northwestern – together,” she said. “The majority of Hong Kong people love basketball, so this is one game where we can draw people together.”

But while basketball largely dominated the scene at Patten, many students came out to the event for the purpose of socializing with other students from Hong Kong and meeting old friends from their overseas secondary schools.

“I’m the worst basketball player ever,” said Weinberg junior Ryan Murphy, the association’s vice president.

For Murphy, the highlight of the event was seeing old friends from his high school back home in Hong Kong. “It’s kind of nice to see people from all over,” he said. “Some people I know and haven’t seen in a long time.”

Murphy and Purdue University junior Dickson Pak both attended the Hong Kong International School in Hong Kong and have attended the annual basketball competition since their freshman year.

“It also helps the Hong Kong people who are far from home to get to know each other through the game,” Chan said.

Because the NU chapter of the Hong Kong Students’ Association hosted the event, the money the tournament raised will subsidize other events. The association currently receives no funding from the university, Chan said.

She said the event usually brings in about $400. Each university team paid a base fee of $10 and an additional $5 for every player.

The seven Midwestern universities played a series of five-on-five person games in a round-robin tournament.

Northwestern’s team consisted of 10 students, led by Weinberg senior Samuel Yu, the basketball team captain. The team began preparing at the beginning of Winter Quarter and practiced every Saturday leading up to the tournament, Yu said.

At the end of the day, one of the teams from Michigan State University collected its trophy for winning the tournament.

Although NU came in fourth place, Yu said the event is less about the competition and more about spending time with other students of similar backgrounds.

“It’s great just being together with your friends, trying to do things together and getting out to get some exercise,” he said.

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