Ping Pong Pals: Seniors connect over table tennis tournament

Senior+Johnny+Patras+returns+a+hit+during+a+ping+pong+tournament+game+against+Senior+Theo+Arado.+Johnny+lost+to+Theo+12-10+in+a+win-by-two+game.+

Andrew Burke-Stevenson

Senior Johnny Patras returns a hit during a ping pong tournament game against Senior Theo Arado. Johnny lost to Theo 12-10 in a win-by-two game.

William Tan, Assistant Editor

A quick flick of the wrist sends a small white ball spiraling over a long table, the hollow pinging of racket-to-ball increasing in frequency and magnitude as two players hit back and forth over a net. This is the sound of table tennis. More commonly known as pingpong, the game is fast and fun and is frequently played casually in the senior lounge. But for some seniors, pingpong has become an essential part of their school life culture, more than just a casual pastime. 

With the senior lounge designated as its home base, the game of pingpong has evolved to become a means of connecting with classmates as a daily outlet to de-stress and have fun.

Senior Eddie Christensen is organizing his second pingpong tournament this year with that exact purpose in mind. With both seniors and faculty members participating in the games, Eddie hopes the tournament will provide much-needed excitement and competition.

“I see this tournament as very competitive and oppositional. But I think that somehow brings people together and makes it so fun,” Eddie said. “Like, bringing people together, turning out new faces at the lounge, and overall, just being something to look forward to and contribute to the positive atmosphere has been just really awesome.”

The single-elimination bracket Eddie randomized pits 36 seniors and faculty members against each other. Matches between contestants will be played during open periods and lunch, and the overall winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card.

Senior Aaron Kim is competing in the tournament. He already enjoys playing pingpong during his free periods and looks forward to playing against his peers. 

I see this tournament as very competitive and oppositional. But I think that somehow brings people together and makes it so fun.”

— Eddie Christensen

“It’s always nice to be in some of these tournaments because, obviously there’s a reward, but also, you see a lot of people who normally wouldn’t be playing pingpong joining, and you know, being able to play with them and talk to them,” Aaron said. “We kind of just bring half of the class together.” 

For Eddie, the tournament was relatively easy to organize, especially because this is the second one he has arranged this school year. 

“We basically just threw a post on Schoology asking people to sign up,” he said. “We just kind of went with how many people signed up. We got about 40 signups the first time, and this time around we have 36.”

One way this tournament that differs from the first one is some faculty will now be participating. Science teacher Francisco Saez is set to play a match against fellow science teacher Kevin Nihill, and his strategy is already developed.

“The result is just being a little bit more defensive and trying to improve the defense. Yeah, that’s my only chance, you know with Dr. Nihill, just to have a good defense against him,” Mr. Saez said. “And maybe he’s a little bit off. Then I have a small chance.”

Whether it’s a close game against Dr. Nihill or a casual match between two senior peers, over the next few weeks the senior lounge is sure to be ringing with the sound of pingpong, bringing more students and faculty together with every match.