Last Friday night in the MAC, around twenty eager competitors attired in everything from boat shoes and a Polo to full athletic gear and a “Balls of Fury” shirt ascended to the basketball courts. Here, they battled for the intramural sport championship treasured most by every House: table tennis.
This was not the ping pong played in your basement back home; this was an all-out, Forrest Gump-style paddle whacking session. And to those that question the legitimacy of table tennis as a sport, Winthrop resident and team member Norman Y. Yao ’09, president of the Harvard Table Tennis Club and commonly regarded as the best player on campus, adamantly defended the sport. “They are taking away baseball in the Olympics but you better damn well believe that they will have table tennis,” he said.
The most glaring issue with the tournament was that, out of the 20 or so players, only one was female, a surprising fact. “Steroids are not an issue in ping pong. This is the one sport where there should be as many girls as guys,” said Christopher J. Carothers ’11, an Eliot resident and team member.
The most famous person in attendance was Enoch Kyerematen, a table tennis celebrity in his own right. Kyerematen, a former member of Ghana’s national table tennis team, is now a Winthrop security guard. With his 71 years of wisdom and astounding skills, Kyerematen is the sensei of table tennis players at Harvard. “He taught everybody on the team everything they know,” said Ronald K. Kamdem ’10, a teammate of Kyerematen. In the tournament, Kyerematen lent his talents to the champion Winthrop A squad.
Winthrop continued their dominance of the IM scene by placing two teams in the semifinals of the tournament, with their A team easily defeating Eliot and then Kirkland to ultimately clinch the title.