Table tennis team enters a new era with new players

First-year+Levi+Putman+returns+a+volley+during+a+warmup+match%2C+Sept.+19.+The+club+now+meets+in+Mann+Hall+instead+of+the+Redstone+Lofts+and+practices+on+three+tables+instead+of+one.
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Table tennis team enters a new era with new players

First-year Levi Putman returns a volley during a warmup match, Sept. 19. The club now meets in Mann Hall instead of the Redstone Lofts and practices on three tables instead of one.

First-year Levi Putman returns a volley during a warmup match, Sept. 19. The club now meets in Mann Hall instead of the Redstone Lofts and practices on three tables instead of one.

STEPHAN TOLJAN/Vermont Cynic

First-year Levi Putman returns a volley during a warmup match, Sept. 19. The club now meets in Mann Hall instead of the Redstone Lofts and practices on three tables instead of one.

STEPHAN TOLJAN/Vermont Cynic

STEPHAN TOLJAN/Vermont Cynic

First-year Levi Putman returns a volley during a warmup match, Sept. 19. The club now meets in Mann Hall instead of the Redstone Lofts and practices on three tables instead of one.

Matthew Bizier, Staff Writer

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The Table tennis club returned to UVM this semester after an extended absence and only had one table to play on for their first few meetings.

While the numbers were low, the atmosphere was competitive; everyone watched as two players faced off at a time.

“I started young, my dad said I started at 4,” said junior Vishal Vijayakumar, the new club’s president.

Starting up the club required making do with a lack of equipment and space to play. Vijayajumar said they also had to overcome the challenge of finding players for a sport that many play as a pastime.

The club began by holding meetings in the Redstone Lofts simply becasue they needed a space with a table.  Now they have moved into the only space they could find, Mann Hall.

Vijayakumar first began planning the return of the club last spring, he said.

“A friend of mine and I always talked about having a club here,” he said. “We knew there used to be a club, we just never knew where it went or what happened to it.”

After some investigating, he realized the club no longer existed. He then met with the former club adviser and SGA about starting the club back up.

The next step was finding the players.

After running a table at ActivitiesFest this fall, the club generated enough interest to get started, with over 200 students signing up.

Vijayakumar was pleasantly surprised by the interest, he said.

Despite the many signatures adorning the club’s sign up sheet, at their sixth practice in the lofts only 11 members showed up to play, the lowest number so far according to Vijayakumar

“It’s always hard to find people who are willing to play,” Vijayakumar said. “Everyone knows someone who plays, it’s just that the people who play don’t know each other.”

For Vijayakumar, its been a struggle.

“You tell them it’s going to be a great year, you make them walk to where the practice isn’t supposed to be to a room that has one table tennis table,” Vijayakumar said.

First-year Pooh Ortiz offered an optimistic approach.

“It seems like it would be a negative thing, because you get less games, but actually I think it has been a positive, at least in the beginning,” Ortiz said.

“What happens is, you get all these people waiting around to play with nothing to do but talk to each other and watch.”

The club now has three tables for practice, with enough room for more.

They now practice in the  Mann Gym on Trinty campus.