Brief History of Ping Pong in Suffield

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We call it ping pong, others have used the term table tennis, but back in 1992 my team mates and I only cared about one thing. And that was, Second Baptist prevailing over First Church Congregational in the Great Ping Pong Challenge. This ad hoc tournament was the brain child of Reverend Rick Huleatt and Pastor Wes Evans. It quickly grew into an assembly of folks from each congregation practicing at their respective churches until the big day. As it turned out, Second Baptist had a ringer; his name was Frank Waldmann. Frank was a veteran of WWII and served as a German translator during and after the war. Frank was also a locally renowned artist, who painted iconic New England scenes. He was matched up against another Suffield legend, Ray Stone. The tournament was tied after many individual matches, and then these last two dueled it out.

Since then, there has been a combined group of players who meet once a week to play together, both singles and doubles. The doubles table is called the A-table and the singles play on the B-table. Those who are on the B-table are generally practicing for their next appearance to take on the winners on the A-table. I have been part of this tradition for 30 years and have cherished the friendships cultivated over that time span.

Now back to 1992. Who won the decisive match? Well, my memory says it was Frank Waldmann. When I recently spoke to Ray Stone, he seemed to not recall. If you are interested, we still play on most Wednesdays starting at 7 pm at Second Baptist Church. The Senior Center also has tables. Come as you are or BYOP.

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