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Young tournanment-goers hang out near the food stand Tuesday during the fifth inning of the AAABA game at Point Stadium. Photo by Dave Lloyd/ The Tribune-Democrat.

For area teens, the AAABA Tournament is not just a tradition, but a rite of passage.

“My brother is four years older than me, and he always hung out down here,” said Matt Turner, 14, of Johnstown, referring to the area below the bleachers. “I had to watch the games with my parents.”

As Matt matured, he was allowed to join in on the fun.

“Now I can walk around, too,” he said. “This is something I look forward to.”

Each year, hundreds of teens congregate at Point Stadium to walk around, hang out and occasionally sit – usually under the bleachers or in the main concourse.

“I don’t even watch the game,” said Vinnie Beppler, 14, of Johnstown.

But others try to combine watching the game with socializing with friends.

“If the game is good, I usually want to watch it. But if a whole bunch of my friends are here, we’ll hang out,” said Kira Hovanec, 14, of Johnstown.

One way to do both is to congregate under the bleachers along the right field line.

“If you see friends, you can come down here and still watch the game,” said Kaitlyn Hoover, 15, of Davidsville. “It’s like going to high school football games, where you come and hang out with friends.”

Matt agreed and added that the primary reason many teens chill at AAABA games is because they haven’t seen each other much since the end of school.

“During the summer, you don’t see your friends as much as during school,” he said. “This is a good way to catch up.”

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