The Ping-Pong ball zips across the table as two la ser-focused high schoolers duel. The loud whacks and bounces of the ball are only outmatched by the gasps and cheers of the crowd.
The popularity of the newly added Ping-Pong table in the high school quad has grown exponentially. Students are always lined up for a turn to play during every free period and lunch.
Many find Ping-Pong a great way to pass empty time with friends, but some also believe it impacts students’ productivity. About a month into the school year, Table Tennis Club president junior Andrew Klieger decided to bring his favorite sport to school.
“I originally needed to do something with leadership for my college resume. So, in order to start the Table Tennis club, I bought the only thing the school was missing: a table,” Klieger said.
However, the club was not an immediate success.
“In the beginning, a lot of people were skeptical, and nobody really paid attention to it,” Klieger said.
However, these days you can find students in intense games at lunch, with a long line of people waiting for their turn.
Many students, including juniors Annalucia King and club vice president Chase Usrey, have found playing Ping Pong a great way to make new friends.
“The Ping-Pong table is so much fun to play with friends,” King said. “I really love how it brings the grades together.”
Usrey, one of the first to play, noted that the table has become a central part of the community.
“Playing with friends is the best,” Usrey said. “You’re able to compete casually or competitively, and you’re able to grow with your friends along the way.”
Sophomore Cezar Abou Zaki has also reaped benefits from the table. Instead of scrolling through social media during his free time, Abou Zaki now opts to stay active and connect with others during that time.
“It’s a great conversation starter for people I haven’t spoken to in a while,” Abou Zaki said.
However, some people on campus have concerns about the table’s impact on stu dent productivity.
“Based on what I’ve seen, the Ping-Pong table has brought many people together,” computer science teacher Charles Farris said. “But, it does seem like it could be distracting to others trying to work in the area, as it’s placed in the middle of the high-school quad.” To alleviate the problem, Farris has considered relocating the table behind the gym next to the shipping containers, but a lack of supervision in that area makes that alternative problematic.
Junior Delsyn Beaton expressed the same concern.
“I can understand how distracting it can get,” he said. “People get so excited between points, and it can get loud sometimes. I’ve experienced this first hand, and I always have to move out of the quad to focus somewhere else.”
With her room the closest to the table, English teacher Jane Bauman often struggles to concentrate with the sound level.
“Sometimes kids get noisy, but they always quiet down when I ask,” Bauman said. And, despite the volume, Bauman appreciates this new addition to the community.
“I like the way it galvanizes students. It’s cool to see everyone playing and watching,” she said.
In response to this problem, Klieger says he will make sure to manage sound levels, reducing the amount of interference with classes.
“But, don’t be too quick to hate on Ping Pong,” Klieger said. “It fosters friendly competition between students and is a great way to de-stress or take your mind off of academic pressures.”
— By William Holz
Originally published in the Nov. 16 edition of The Octagon