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Feb. 15, 2006

Table Tennis Enthusiasts Form Club

"I'm not really sure how it began. It may have come to me in a dream," says junior Danny Peters, founder and president of the newest group on campus, Ohio Wesleyan's Table Tennis Club.

Peters had long dreamed of playing table tennis at OWU, but it wasn't until he spoke with Julian Arribas, assistant professor of Spanish, that he was motivated to start a campus organization. Arribas, once a table tennis champ in his homeland of Spain, was excited by Peters' interest in the sport. "He really wanted me to start the club," Peters says.

The junior began the requisite paperwork last semester, but he didn't start fundraising for tables seriously until after winter break. "I played a lot of table tennis at professional clubs in L.A. over break," Peters said. "They showed me the world of table tennis. I realized I'd known nothing before. And I realized it was something I wanted to do for this school."

So within the first week of the new semester, Peters filled out budget requests, researched different tables online and at sporting goods stores, and recruited 30 members to the club.

"We weren't expecting such a large turnout at the first meeting," says sophomore Andrew Miglietti, club vice president. "We expected 10 at the most." And membership is still increasing weekly.

"A good portion of the club is international players," says Miglietti, noting that that the club gives members an opportunity to befriend students they might not have met otherwise. "It's a good way to connect with international students. Some of them have even played on their national teams."

Both Peters and Miglietti are excited to play competitive table tennis. "I love competitive playing," Miglietti says. "We were excited to find out there was an Ohio division. We both freaked out when we heard about it."

"We're trying to go beyond recreation. We're trying to get into competition," Peters adds. Once the club belongs to the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA), it will have the chance to reach national levels of competition. "I want us to be exposed to competition," says Peters. "I want us to grow, and we have to do that by seeing better players."

"You can sweat under the right circumstances, when you have the right competition," adds Miglietti.

"You actually have to be an athlete to really play. You need hand-eye coordination, and endurance. If you play more than two hours, it drains you," Peters confirms.

There's more to the club than a serious devotion to table tennis, however. "It's not just competitive playing," Miglietti cautions. "A lot of people just want to have fun. I love the fact that though it's a sport, anyone can play."

Peters agrees. "My favorite part about it is it's one-on-one. It's so easy to pick up a conversation with someone, and people are always excited to teach you new techniques. They like helping out players that are learning. It's fun."

"I'm not even the best player in the club. I just want people to get involved," he adds.

The table tennis season spans the entire school year, beginning in the fall and ending in the spring. Clubs with NCTTA membership are required to play every other team in their division twice per year, which means between twenty and thirty games a year for Ohio Wesleyan's club. "There are between ten and fifteen clubs in the Ohio division," Peters says. "It varies, but we'll play them all."

The club meets Mondays at noon in the Bashford Lounge of Beeghly Library. Once the club has tables and a place to store them, meetings will move to Saturday. Students needing further information may contact Peters at dgpeters@owu.edu or Miglietti at acmiglie@owu.edu.

Yulia Strizheus