Ping-pong club: easygoing and enjoyable

Ellory Moran, Staff Writer

Tryouts, cuts, and competition excluded. South’s Ping-Pong Club offers a relaxed environment where students can play ping pong while still maintaining a competitive spirit, Steven Berkley, Ping-Pong Club Sponsor said.

Ping-Pong Club is unlike typical South sports because it is an intramural, Berkley said. The club does not require tryouts or hold cuts but still participates in tournaments with other high schools in the area, Berkley explained.

“Anyone can come [to Ping-Pong Club],” Berkeley said. “Whether you are a beginner or advanced, all are welcome.”

Along with a less competitive atmosphere, Ping-Pong Club offers a sports experience with less commitment stress, freshman Ethan Kane, Ping-Pong Club member, said.

“There are no super-pressing requirements you have to meet [or] a certain number of days [you are required to attend],” Kane said. “There are no cuts so it is just come if you want, play, and have a good time.”

Despite its typical easy-going nature, the Club still offers opportunities for more experienced and competitive players by participating in the Interscholastic Table Tennis Illinois League (ITTI) during the winter, senior Darya Tenenbaum, President of Ping-Pong Club, said. In the ITTI League, they typically compete in after-school tournaments year round, selecting their top six or so members as their “varsity” and bringing along anyone else who wants to come, Tenenbaum said.

“So it is [our] best [players] against their best [players], like an order one through six, and then the second, third, fourth-whoever wins play each other,” Tenenbaum said. “Then whatever school gets the most wins, wins the competition for the day.”

The relaxed nature of the Ping-Pong Club creates a small friendly community of players that can all connect through ping-pong, often resulting in unlikely friendships,” Tenenbaum said. 

Tenenbaum also likes to hold intra-club tournaments to help push members to meet new people or compete against their friends.

Unlike a typical sports team with head coaches in charge, Ping-Pong Club opts to be student-driven with adult sponsors working to support what the members want, Berkley said.

“Even if we have a small amount of people or a big [turnout], I would say it is very energetic,”Tenenbaum said.“You learn something from everybody and there is always a lot of movement and competition but it is also a lot of sportsmanship so it is fun.”