Getting ready for tournament against SFU
By Jamal Al-Bayaa, Staff Writer
Although the ping pong facilities are widely used at Douglas’ New West campus, there hasn’t been an active ping pong club in a while. People would just come to the studio, play when they wanted to play, and then leave. People played against people they already knew. There was nobody behind the scenes, organizing these dozens of individual players into a team. None of them were able to join a community of players, or be part of a team made up of their peers.
That’s why Abaas Sharar and his friends organized the Douglas Ping Pong Club. Their first order of business was organizing a tournament against an opposing school. After calls to many major campuses he was able organize a tournament with SFU Burnaby.
“The purpose of this tournament was to find new talent in the school that we never knew existed,” Abaas explained. They never could have known, either. While a good chunk of students came to casually play ping pong, the competition became very intense once there was money on the line, and an organized group that they could play for. The turnout was unbelievable.”
One of the players who really brought the heat to the new club is Lakshay Popli. He’s sometimes called “Left Hand Laksha” by his friends, who say “He’s so good, he’ll beat you with his left hand.”
As Laksha describes it, “I want to do something that my school will be proud of me for.” He says he’s feeling really good about being on the team. He trusts his teammates to do their best and perhaps even win this tournament.
However, being a new club is proving to be difficult. Space is a major consideration. Ping pong is something that definitely takes a lot of space. In New West, the studio is always booked, and the gym’s schedule is even more packed.
Another difficulty that the organizers had was deciding who was going to make the team. Everyone that tried out was phenomenal. How does one decide between two people who are both proving that they know how to play the game?
In the future, the club wants to go far beyond the normal limit that school restrictions provide. “It would be great to go to the provincial level and play there,” Abaas said. “Just because we’re a club, doesn’t mean that we’re not a fully functional sports team, too.”
Nonetheless, the focus is elsewhere for the time being as the Douglas Ping Pong Club prepares themselves for their opening tournament against SFU. The winning team will be awarded a $200 gift card to Boston Pizza for the entire team to share. A handful of smaller individual prizes such as T-shirts and Tim Horton’s gift cards will also be awarded to players based on a number of considerations.
“We have a great bunch of players that are going to do really well at this tournament. We don’t know who SFU is bringing, but we sure will be ready for anything that they bring to the table.” The whole club invites you to watch their first tournament matches at Douglas College. The tournament will be going on in the gym on Friday March 4th from 3:30-6:30 p.m.