Originally established by former Malden High School student, Tri Pham, the ping pong club was founded about two years ago. Now, it is lead by Malden High senior Brandon Li. The club is made up of between ten to fifteen members that are all Malden High School students, who are extremely passionate about ping pong. They meet everyday after school to practice and compete against each other in the Malden High School Cafe B until about 5:30 pm, and they have their meetings on Fridays. Senior Danny Mai, an active member of the ping pong club, explained that a lot of the members who are, “really dedicated come by to play almost everyday,” but if given the chance, “[they would] stay longer.”
Practices for the members of the ping pong club are very informal, where they mostly practice by competing against each other. Members learn how to play by practicing and competing against each other, since they don’t do drills like other sports, “[The members] usually just have regular games,” and depending on a member’s experience, the more senior members of the club try to, “give each other pointers,” like on serves and spiking in ping pong, Mai explained. It doesn’t matter whether you’re experienced in the art of ping pong, since the members help teach newcomers the basics in ping pong. You just need to know enough not to break any of the ping pong balls and paddles, because they pay for their own equipment.
Several of the club members enjoy the competitive aspect of ping pong that comes with scoring a lot of points. Junior Richard Du, another member of the club believes that, “ping pong is like a sport that anyone can pick up,” making it a relatively easy and simple sport to play. One of the most important aspects of ping pong is that it requires patience and precision. Du explains that he understands how a lot of people “might want to respond and hit the ball really hard,” as it comes at them, but he says it’s not a good idea since the ball is very sensitive. Just touching the ball can cause it to go flying through the air, potentially hitting someone in the face or the ball could go out of bounds.
Last year in November, the Ping Pong Club had a tournament in the Malden High School gym that was held by the Asian Culture Club. Different ping pong clubs from Boston came to compete with skilled players of all ages, young and old, came to play and Mai described the atmosphere of the competition as, “really competitive.” The vast majority of the clubs won in the big event, with the MHS club competing against the youth portion of the event due to the inexperience of a lot of the club members. Mai said that they played, “against [the] eight-year-olds and seven-year-olds,” and due to the younger clubs’ prowess, the youth ended up beating them.
Even though the club was formed fairly recently, it is doing very well. There are a lot of dedicated members meeting almost everyday after school to practice, and Du explains that even though, “the ping pong club is like on the come up right now,” he believes that there are “good things coming for the coming future.”