The Charlotte Table Tennis Club (CTTC) has had a rich history in Charlotte, NC, sharing the premises with the Charlotte Badminton Club. The club currently has ten main tables and a few extra practice ones in other rooms of the center in which it resides.
According to a 2012 blog post by TP Lee, CTTC was created around 1979 or 1980, initially with only 8 players and 4 tables at the first practice. Later, more tables were bought, and after moving and participating in numerous locations around North Carolina, the club finally settled at the Hawthorne Racket Club and Recreation Center.
Furthermore, Lee says that CTTC member John Pahl (JP) was an instrumental factor in securing more tables for the club, consolidating all the equipment in the current location, as well as managing the finances and other issues.
A later figure of CTTC is Bill Englebreth. He joined in 2002, unaware of the new and exciting world of table tennis he was getting himself into, far from the ping pong he had played in the 1960s. Although he’s improved drastically since his first forays into the true Olympic Sport, Englebreth has dedicated himself to another equally satisfying and challenging route of a national umpire and regional referee. He’s also the overseer for the Central Carolinas Super League which is held at CTTC.
Englebreth observes that much of the success of the club is due to high caliber players that are consistently in attendance. He’s quick to add as well, echoing Lee’s sentiments, that “John Pahl has kept the club going for the last 20 years, doing the unglamorous work of hosting tournaments, coordinating with the local Parks and Rec Department, and handling conflicts.”
As the pandemic looms on, the CTTC still awaits the green light to re-open. In the interim, Englebreth has tried to be proactive by assembling a Google spreadsheet on Princeton Pong owner Flint Lane’s Club Owners Facebook page. The goal is to share ideas with other clubs on what sort of items other clubs are using or preparing to use upon reopening to mitigate the risk of getting COVID-19.
Englebreth says personally for CTTC that their vice-president Bilal Soylu has created “a no-contact on-line waiting room which links to a facility waiver and no-contact methods of visitor and membership payments.” All these ideas demonstrate how generous and productive CTTC and the rest of the USA table tennis community is as we all unite to find ways on how to lower the transmission of the coronavirus.
And, finally, knowing that everyone’s burning with desire to get back to playing, Englebreth has this to say to members of the CTTC: “I know it feels terrible not playing- table tennis withdrawal is a real thing! But the Charlotte club will be there when we can return safely.”
Kudos to Englebreth and the CTTC for being diligent and helpful to members of the table tennis community in this time of need, and best of luck upon returning to play when the time comes.