Table tennis team gains popularity and prestige

Rachel Wallace and Eric Wagner


Ava Azadegan

Varsity player Danny Hogan practices his ping-pong skills during practice against other BSM students.

Laura Lyon and Kathryn Browne

Ping pong may be a game of entertainment for some, but it truly takes hard work and concentration. Members on the team spend hours learning new serves, working on their spin, and participating in fast paced games against other students. “Ping Pong is like a game of chess. You have to recognize what type of spin your opponent throws at you and know what to counter with. You have to think ahead,” said Mr. Hanson.

Mr. Hanson began playing ping pong in third grade. In college, Mr. Hanson continued his practice. He took classes learning holds, footwork, spins, and swerves. “Being a poor college student I entered a few competitions for cash prizes through the Parks and Rec and some friendly wagers at peoples homes – the underground pong league,” said Mr. Hanson.

Mr. Hanson enjoys ping pong because there is always room for improvement. “I won several times but also walked away with a blow to the ego,” said Mr. Hanson. He currently gets his practice in with the BSM team. He enjoys helping students notice their strengths and work on their weaknesses.

While some students are on the team to seriously improve on their ping pong skills, many are on the team to just enjoy themselves. “My older brother said it was fun and I knew a lot of my friends were doing it so I joined,” freshman Kelly Johnson said.

Ping pong is different from most clubs at BSM because of the club’s atmosphere and mentality. “It’s just really fun, not too strict. It’s a laid-back environment,” Johnson said.

Some people joined the club with the intention of just playing the game. “My favorite part of the club is the number of players that you get to play. If you’re at home you can only play 2 or 3 people but at school you can play about 10,” freshman Keenan Schember said.

The ping pong season runs from November through mid-February. Matches are hosted at BSM along with other opposing teams’ schools. Various teams and clubs around the metro area participate in the matches. The team’s biggest rivals include Wayzata, Eagan, and Holy Angels. “We have some excellent players, and everyone has their own unique style of play,” Mr. Hanson said.

At the state tournament, members must be focused on their game. “The team state takes place in one day. It is a long day of being in a gym and being able to focus so long is hard,” said Mr. Hanson. The team has taken first place in the consolation bracket and third and fourth place in the championship bracket.

At the tournament, the players enjoy a fun day of constant ping pong action. “[The state tournament] is so much fun. It’s nine hours and you just play constantly with a break for lunch”, said senior captain Tara Fan. The girls play more matches because of lack of female participants. They play the same teams several times throughout the day.

Members from BSM know how to balance having fun playing the game, while still taking it serious and focusing on improving their game. “BSM gets really into it. Some schools are really embarrassed about it, to be there, and some schools are really serious about it, like too serious” Fan said.