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How this ancient game creates community

SPLC volunteer Jackie Mac watches as his students play Machet

Posted on Aug 21, 2017

The greatest creations come from a pure desire to help others. Machet was one such creation.

Machet is a derivative of the ancient tile-based mind game Mahjong, and it was created by long time SPLC volunteer Jackie Mac. Jackie created the game 19 years ago and has changed many lives with it. He and the game have brought pleasure, health, and community to dozens of local seniors.

Jackie was inspired to create the game when he noticed that the recreation programs at SPLC didn’t foster friendship and joy in the way he knew games like Mahjong could. He saw that clients were exercising and staying engaged but they were not wholly enjoying the process.

SPLC clients sit in on a sunny day and play MachetThus, he reached back into his life and adapted Mahjong for western culture. Others did not think it was possible; “Many people discouraged me, people said this game was too difficult to make popular in western countries,” said Jackie. He however understood the value the game could provide seniors, and continued to work on it.

The value Jackie saw in his game came in three ways. He envisioned the pleasure his students would experience playing his game, the health benefits of engaging their mind, and the community of players it would create. What he envisioned has since become the pillars on which his game stands today.

Isha, a student of Jackie’s for over ten years, says that she keeps coming back every single week simply because the game is fun. According to Jackie and his students pleasure is the spirit of the game. Regarding health, Studies have shown that Mahjong and its derivatives like Machet can slow down cognitive decline even for those suffering from dementia. Finally, the community Machet has created has stood strong for decades. His students have become friends with each other and their teacher. Yvone, another student of Jackie’s, said “Jackie has become like family.”

SPLC clients, Isha, Barb, and Yvone play Machet with JackieHearing his students say these nice things must make all that he’s done worth it, right? It must make the six months of prep, the overcoming of discouragement, and the decades of teaching all worth it, right?

No. That’s not what matters to Jackie.

What made it all worth it for Jackie was the effect he had on people’s lives – the joy he brought to his students. Jackie wanted to make people happy and that’s all he ever worked for. Jackie never did it for recognition; he did it because he saw a problem that he could solve.

This same attitude is why Jackie agreed to do an interview. He is not looking for personal recognition; rather he is looking to generate awareness for his program. He wants to help more people.

Help raise awareness for the Machet class at SPLC, so Jackie and his game can help more people. Show your support by sharing this article with your friends and family and liking our Machet related posts on Facebook.

If you are in interested in signing up for the Machet class please call our intake line at (416)-493-3333. For more information on our Machet class or any other programs here at SPLC please visit our recreation page.