After a full day of shuffleboard at the Sebring Recreation Club on Wednesday, the Heartland Senior Games’ table tennis players took over the clubhouse on Thursday. Long held at the Crystal Lake Club it was decided that, as the event grew, a larger venue was needed and the Sebring Rec Club filled the need perfectly with lots of space and great lighting.
Bruce Lydy who had coordinated table tennis at Crystal Lake Club continued on in that role this year.
As players gathered, many returning players were seen and several new faces appeared, bringing fresh enthusiasm for the game as well as an appreciative audience. Only players from Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid took part in this year’s tournament. There must be lots of enthusiastic table tennis buffs playing in their homes or community centres in Hardee and Desoto Counties. It will be the task of the event organizers, South Florida State College, to attract participation from Arcadia, Wauchula and other local towns for the 2020 competition.
In singles, doubles and mixed doubles play there were many exciting games with hard fought battles in which players showed dexterity, strength and speed, regardless of their age.
Newcomer Ron Sells, who is wintering at Lake Istokpoga, was the youngest player and had to compete against men 5 and 10 years older. They all gave him a good battle.
One of the oldest competitors, Gene Josey, 82, turns up at several of the Heartland Senior Games events each year taking full advantage of the opportunity to compete in as many events as one wants. He added a gold and a silver to his impressive collection of Heartland Games medals.
During the day, Lyn Payne, an avid table tennis player and a member of the Sebring Recreation Club was extolling the virtues of belonging to the Club as she chatted with many in attendance. Lyn is one who definitely wants to use her victories in women’s and mixed doubles to move on to compete against ladies statewide at the Florida Senior Games which will be held in Broward County in December.
Medal winners from Lake Placid were Ron Sells, Rick Case and Bob Schilling.
Avon Park medalists were Eduardo Castro, Scott and Brenda Dauphin, Jim Bachand and Russ Gross.
Sebring players heading home with medals were Donna Wasson, June & John Sproule, Lyn Payne, Larry Harvey, Tim Hudy, Bob Kollmeyer, Jim Jones, Alan Geiger, Bob Bonner, Walt Snyder and Gene Josey.
Anyone interested in playing recreational or competitive table tennis should stop by the Sebring Recreation Club at 333 Pomegranate.