UMHB Table Tennis Club brings an uncommon sport to campus

Published by The Bells Newspaper on Feb 21, 2018

The university has many campus organizations that are not as well-known as others but are still valued by students. The Table Tennis Club is one of the smaller novelty organizations here on campus.

The Table Tennis club, also known as the Ping Pong Club, has been on campus for almost two years and is overseen by club president and founder Luke Hering, a senior business computer information system major.

“I used to play ping pong with all my friends in McLane Hall and we thought that maybe we could get together with more people that wanted to play but didn’t have any friends to play with. It is fun because it is a way to get away from the schoolwork and into a relaxed environment,” Hering said.

The Table Tennis Club meets every Friday at 5 p.m. in the Mayborn Campus Activities Center, where members play ping pong while hanging out with each other. Members describe the meetings as casual, relaxed, and entertaining all at the same time.

Milana Vockovic, the club’s vice president, is a sophomore graphic design major who joined the club in the fall of 2017.

“I didn’t know that the club was a thing until I was playing ping-pong with my friends and I was like ‘we should start a club.’ Later, when I looked on the club roster, I found out we already had [a club], so I joined and became more involved,” Vockovic said.

“It’s hard because we don’t have a lot of access to more ping pong tables and it is such a confined space. But we hope to expand in numbers and equipment.”

Dr. Kaleb Heinrich is an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department who sponsors the club.

“Early on I had a handful of them in my lab class and they had talked about getting together to play ping-pong. We started meeting normally to do it and I then encouraged them to make a club,” Heinrich said.

“The professional clubs are important but relative to that this club is very relaxed and very inclusive. Anyone of any level can come, we have even had staff and faculty come and play with us as well.”

There are around thirty members and the meetings usually consist of two to ten people.

John Swords is a sophomore business management major who comes to the club meetings often. “I was talking to Luke about tennis when Luke introduced me to the table tennis club and said I should try it out,” he said.

“I enjoyed the thrill of the game and how it is fast paced, and it requires hand-eye coordination. It is a way to relax and hang out with other people but still be competitive about something.”

Katie Weidman is a sophomore social work major who also frequents the meetings. She was introduced to the club by Vockovic and has been learning how to become a better ping pong player.

“Milana has really brought me under her wings and taught me all she knows,” Weidman said. “I decided to join to have fun with friends and to meet new people while learning more about the game.”

While the club does not have a team that competes in table tennis competitions, they hope to grow large enough to do so in the future.

“Our mission is to bring UMHB students together through ping pong and hopefully we can develop a team to compete in the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA),” Heinrich said.

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