Strong competition at city’s first ping-pong tourney

Published 10:46 pm Friday, July 11, 2014

Suffolk Parks and Recreation regularly hosts intramural ping-pong with a small group of dedicated players who had an idea for something more.

“They wanted to put together a tournament,” said Suffolk Parks and Recreation’s Roberto Ramos.

The city obliged, and the double elimination event featured six participants from around the area, with Michael Haynes of Norfolk emerging as the winner.

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“We just seeded them randomly,” Ramos said of the players.

To win a game, participants played up to 11.

“They played best-out-of-three for all the (matches) up until the semifinals,” Ramos said.

The semifinals and final matches were best-out-of-five.  In the championship match, Haynes was down 2-0 before coming back for a 3-2 win.

Suffolk Parks and Recreation’s Janice Henderson, who participated and took fourth place in the event, said the tourney went really well.

“The numbers were small, because again, this was the first time, but it was a nice turnout for the first time, and I’m just hoping that they’ll do it again sometime soon,” she said.

Henderson is better known as a tennis player and a strong promoter of that sport in the city. However, she said she has played ping-pong — or table tennis — since high school.

Growing up in New Jersey, she realized tennis was an outdoor sport for three months, so she was forced to channel her energy elsewhere during the rest of the year. Fortunately, ping-pong relates strongly to tennis.

“Because I have that tennis as my background, it helps me a little bit more to just stay focused and just watch the ball,” she said.

She was pleased to still have the alternative of ping-pong as an adult thanks to the city’s offering.

Henderson first became aware of the intramural ping-pong sessions during the winter when she was assigned to set in a lot at the Booker T. Washington Recreation Center where the sessions take place.

“The next time I went to work, I took my ping-pong racquet with me, and that’s where I practiced,” she said. “And the guys were kind enough to practice with me, because I really wasn’t good at the time.”

She improved and put in practice ahead of the tournament, where, she said, “there was some strong competition.”

Following are the results from Suffolk Parks and Recreation’s first ping-pong tournament:

  • 1st place: Michael Haynes
  • 2nd place: Andre Stevenson
  • 3rd place: Henry Patrick
  • 4th place: Janice Henderson
  • 5th place: Milton Reed
  • 6th place: Andre Stevenson Jr.