Argus Wesleyan | Dropped by the pandemic, the return of the practices of the table tennis club

c / o Chase Williams

At first glance, it might seem easy for someone who has never played table tennis to hit a bouncing ball on a table. In practice however, ping pong, which has been an Olympic sport since the 1988 Summer Olympics, is a difficult activity that requires excellent reflexes and intuition to know how to react to feedback.

Wesleyan students have discovered the nuances of this beautiful game thanks to Wesleyan table tennis, which recently returned from a pandemic hiatus to host in-person practice again.

The beauty of this sport is that it requires minimal equipment, takes place indoors and is not limited by space. Wesleyan’s program has settled alongside his other racquet cousins: the club meets every Tuesday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the squash courts at the Freeman Athletics Center. The club also organizes open table tennis “socials” every Thursday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. In other words, it’s a great way to have fun and connect with the sport and meet club members.

The club is run by Andrew Doucette ’22, who has been playing ping pong for as long as he can remember.

“Growing up, I always enjoyed playing ping pong,” said Doucette. “We have a ping-pong table in [our] basement, so I would play it all the time. I also play varsity squash in Wesleyan and have been playing it for almost 8 years, since my first year of high school. But I always make sure I spend time playing ping pong every week because I really enjoy playing it.

Doucette said the club was more active before the pandemic, when he came to Wesleyan as a freshman. He loved to play ping pong competitively and eventually took over as club president when former president Danny Heimler ’20 graduated.

In addition to Doucette, Wesleyan Table Tennis has regulars who have developed a love for the sport.

“I try to come here every Thursday and play pickup games with my friends”, Mohammad Hasib ’24 noted. “It’s a great way to exercise and even sweat a bit for an hour, especially when you’re so stressed out about homework. It feels good after hitting the ball back and forth, but it also gets pretty intense when both players are so good.

Like many other clubs on campus, Wesleyan Table Tennis is also hoping to find more members interested in joining the club.

“We would like to find the secret [ping-pong] masters among us on campus, ”Doucette joked. “Anyone can come and enjoy the fast paced table tennis games at our club. Whether you are looking to learn more about the game, play competitively, or just hit up with friends, the Wesleyan Table Tennis Club is the place to be.

What’s next for Wesleyan table tennis? A little friendly competition. Ahead of the pandemic season (2019-2020), Wesleyan Table Tennis traveled to Boston and competed in tournaments through the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA). Cards are also part of the Lower New England conference with teams such as Amherst, Brandeis University, Brown University, Boston University, Tufts, UConn, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Doucette hopes to be able to rally a group to compete.

“We hope to find good players this year and form a squad to train and compete for next season, said Doucette. Our goal is to have a strong squad and hopefully travel to different cities to play matches against other colleges in the NCTTA league or any other colleges nearby.

Chase Williams can be contacted at [email protected]

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