SVTTC Hosts First Family League Night

By Angela Guan | Feb. 27, 2017, 4:38 p.m. (ET)

For most children playing table tennis, their parents are the ones who drive them to their practice sessions, pick up balls for them, watch them, and bring them home. Rarely do their parents find the time to play some table tennis on their own, but believe it or not, many parents are great players themselves. To honor this fact and encourage more parents and adults to practice table tennis, on Friday, February 17th, 2017, the SVTTC Friday League hosted the first Family League.

Children teamed up with their parents, uncles, or even grandparents, in my case, before the group was divided into two major teams, consisting of six pairs of adult/child each, before the league began. Every pair of adult/child competed against two other pairs in two single matches and one doubles match. At first, boys and girls were coached and cheered on by their parents or relatives as normal, but when the adults’ turn came to compete, their roles were reversed. Not every match was child versus child or adult versus adult. Participants of the two singles matches were mixed for each set of pairs, which were then followed by the deciding doubles match in which the adult/child pairs had to work together. Looking down at the row of family league tables, people at the SVTTC smiled and watched the joy, laughter, and friendly family league atmosphere.

While Lulu Huo and Stacey Nguyen’s fathers moved each other all over the court, the two girls played against each other. Emily Mo played against William Su’s father cheered by their father and son, respectively. On another table, Jimmy Goodwin and his father played an exciting doubles match against Henrick Zhang and his father. The two father-son duos had counterloops and many rallies. A great variety of styles were out there like Adrian Fu and his father (chopper and lefty, respectively) and Jordan Wang and James Chai (looper and penhold short pips). Gautam Krishnan partnered with his father, who was also both a defensive and offensive player. Sashrik Sribhashyam and Sudhish played an exciting match against Victor Liu and his uncle.

Not only was this family league for parents/uncles with their children, but also it was a multigenerational event. It was very special for me to participate in this event with my 82-year-old grandfather, penhold style with pips on his backhand, as well as my mother, who is also a chopper. In fact, we had two sets of parent/child in one team. My grandfather and I each played a singles match, and I played doubles with my mother. At the age of eighty-two, my grandfather plays table tennis every day, an inspiration to never give up on a sport you love. “Table tennis keeps you young,” as he often says. He challenged Victor Liu, top seed in the league, followed by a match with James Chai.

Watching my grandfather play, I see him thinking before each serve, moving the opponent around the court, and adding variation to every shot. He wasn’t there to win, but to try his best, have fun, and enjoy the joy that table tennis brings. The first Family League organized at SVTTC Friday League in Milpitas, CA was such a success. Children, parents, uncles, and even grandparents participated in this event, bringing an evening full of joy and friendly competition.

This really reminded everyone that table tennis is not only about winning. Table tennis is also about friendships, family, sportsmanship, and fun. It is a sport that brings friends and families together from all countries and all ages, and it continues to grow in the US and in the world. (For more interests in promoting the sport, World Table Tennis Day is April 6th, 2017 at www.tt4all.com.)

Thank you to SVTTC, Friday League organizers, James Chai, and everyone else who donated to and supported this event! We encourage you to organize family leagues in your areas. And we are looking forward to the next Family League!