By Nick DeMaagd

[email protected] 

It was three years ago in the fall of 2011 that marked the beginning of what would become Grand Valley State’s Table Tennis Club. Originally started by four friends who made the club because they loved the sport, the club has since grown to a current roster of 25. 

In the beginning, the club was merely founded and organized through GVSU’s OrgSync and was no more than a placeholder name. It wasn’t until the fall of 2012 that the club would see the first signs of expansion.

Campus Life Night became the catalyst for club growth that year, and the club was able to secure two tables for practicing, eventually expanding to a total of five. Club president Denali Shaw said Campus Life Night was more of a hangout for the club for students to take interest.

“It allowed members to get to know people, and for us it’s a socializing sport,” Denali said. “I’ve met a lot of my current friends through the club and the laid back meetings I think help too.”

Every week, the club meets to hang out and members play with one another both casually and competitively. The players compete within a different group of four to five members each week where their scores are recorded. The scores are used to determine their ranking within the club. Players can progress through the ranks to play amongst the best in the club and be selected for tournament play.

“I didn’t know what to expect at first,” said GVSU senior Shane Lesniak. “The club is very flexible and we have fun playing singles or doubles competitively.”

In order to keep the balance between fun and competition, players are able to play at least one match outside of their division so that they can play with friends or with someone different. 

As for tournament play, however, the club is a part of the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and participates in up to two tournaments a year. Tournaments are played as singles. This year, the club was unable to beat the University of Michigan and didn’t qualify for the second tournament. 

The club’s competitive play isn’t over though, with members competing in various invitational tournaments hosted by other universities within the Midwest division such as Central Michigan University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. In the last invitational of the semester against CMU, nine of GVSU’s members played and won the invitational allowing the club to end on a good note for the semester.

Whether for fun or competition, the members of GVSU’s Table Tennis club welcome all as they continue to expand upon what once used to be a fun pastime between four friends.