The clicking and clacking of balls against paddles and tables fills the room alongside conversations of competition. The smell of the waxed gym floors of the MAC fills your nose as you walk in. It is early in the morning and you are still a bit hazy from waking up so early. This is the experience of the average Ping Pong Club member.
As the Ping Pong Club rounds out its seventh year not much is known about the club, where and when they meet, and how to join.
Started in the 2009-10 school year by teachers Derrick Abromeit, Andy Weber, and counselor Mr. Long, Ping Pong Club generally meets at 7am in the MAC on Fridays, with the exception of a few after school dates. The normal early start time leads to the challenge of getting people to come.
“The hardest part of getting people to come getting your tail out of bed and making the trip,” Abromeit said.
Even with knowing when to come you might be concerned that it is too late to join, but that is not the case.
“There is no official way to join, you just show up and play,” club sponsor William Espeset said.
Although the club has a very open door policy, they still struggle to get a large attendance with about twenty to forty people showing up on a regular basis. Despite this some are not concerned with attendance.
“I don’t really know how many people come, I’m only concerned about the person on the other side of the table,” junior Guy Talcott said.
Though some members are as competitive as Talcott, not all meet the same level of skill.
“We have all different levels of players,” Espeset said.
The reason for different levels of players is that it is easy to hit a ball with a paddle, but to master the sport is not as easy.
“It’s fairly difficult to play ping pong well,” Abromeit said.
Even with a learning curve many people come simply because they like to play ping pong. Others like the competition aspect to the game.
“My favorite part of ping pong is beating everyone who steps on the other side of the table,” Talcott said.
Others like to come for the simple atmosphere of the sport and watching the others play. Seeing everyone improve is what drives the sponsors to continue coming to the club.
“I like just watching everybody playing and having fun,” Espeset said.
But ping pong is not flawless, there are some aspects of the club that people do not like.
“My least favorite part of Ping Pong Club is all the time spent fixing tables,” Espeset said. “It takes time away from playing and watching the kids play.”
For some people the early start time leads to difficulty getting there on time. Especially Abromeit who lives in Lawrence.
“My least favorite part is getting up early,” Abromeit said.
While the main point of the club is to simply have fun there is still a competitive air to the club. This leads to the contention of who the best player in the club is. While Espeset would tell you a tale of a legendary player that only showed up to Ping Pong Club once Abromeit has a different answer.
“Currently the best ping pong player in the school is me,” Abromeit said.