The San Antonio Table Tennis Club (SATTC) in Texas has a rich history, dating as far back as 1965. The organization has expanded substantially since it’s humble origins, finally settling in its present locale of the Alamo Gymnastics and Fitness center in 2009. Opened 7 days a week during non-coronavirus times, the club is truly a ponging hubbub for many events such as the World Championship of Ping Pong Qualification Event and other USATT sanctioned tournaments held about four times a year.
Romanian international Vlad Farcas is the current President and head coach for SATTC. He said he started playing table tennis when he was 11 years old. His first love was soccer so at first, he only played table tennis once a week, but then his passions shifted, and he dedicated 6-7 hours a day to practicing our favorite Olympic sport.
Some of his numerous accolades include coaching US Para National team member Jenson Van Emburgh (who recently qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics), as well as being an assistant coach and hitting partner for Romanian Paralympians Bobi Simion and Makszin Dacian.
Farcas acknowledges that it has been difficult during the pandemic shutdown but has tried to make the most of the difficult situation.
“Yes, unfortunately this is a tough time for us and for our members,” he said.
“We've held two Zoom meetings in which we informed our members about our club's situation also checking on their well-being and we've also hosted a contest on our Facebook page in which our members had the chance to show us how are they still remaining table tennis active, even when the club is closed.”
Farcas also has been actively attending the weekly townhall meetings hosted by USATT staff to bounce ideas off each other on how to prepare for reopening clubs in social distancing criteria, as well as other topics of discussion. He is grateful to USATT CEO Virginia Sung, COO Mark Thompson and Media Director Chad Knasinski for dedicating the time to supplying pivotal guidance to clubs around the nation.
In the interim, Farcas looks forward to more events and activities in his club once it reopens. He says that SATTC will be conducting a new Youth Program, catered to children who want to play the sport. According to Farcas, on the other end of the age demographic, the club, “will also have group lessons for adults, approaching a more European System that will show our members that Table Tennis is more than an individual sport, helping them improve while practicing with each other under the supervision of our coaches.”
When asked about how he would uplift those itching to play table tennis again but still at home, Farcas had this to say:
“What better way to end this than to encourage everybody to stay #PongPositive!”
We are looking forward to seeing the SATTC safely reopen when possible.