Elliott Baron ’13
In a typical day at Germantown Friends the banter about sports is usually dictated by the ESPN cycle of football, basketball, and baseball. Many students overlook classmates who have wandered outside the realm of major league sports and who participate in up-and-comers like crew, ice hockey, and now, ping pong.
Veena ’14 and Taara ’15 Advani have been taking ping pong lessons for four years. While both girls have actively participated in GFS sports throughout their high school careers, the Advani sisters have also been experimenting in competitive ping pong. While schools typically overlook the game of ping pong as more of an activity that a sport, Veena thought it would be a good idea to host an area-wide ping pong tournament to show schools and their students that ping pong is more competitive than one would believe. Thus, the first annual Philadelphia Area Schools Table Tennis Tournament (PASTTT) began. This year, three schools were represented in the tournament, including Germantown Academy, Westtown, and Germantown Friends.
Representing GFS was Max McCafferty ’13, David Sneed ’13, Jeremy Middleman ’14, Morris Saxe-Smith ’14, Anand and Satya Butler ’15, and Felipe Sanz ’16. While GFS had the most athletes out of any other school team, they unfortunately did not win or place in the singles or doubles tournament.
When asked whether or not he the team was prepared for the tournament, Satya said, “[Our ping pong skills are] totally based on squash lessons and nights in the basement when we were 8.”
“And mad skills,” Anand added.
While the GFS team’s efforts didn’t amount to much success, Westtown stole the show, winning first and second place in both the singles and doubles tournaments. Tong Pow of Westtown walked away with two first place trophies for both events, and Tristan Pankake was able to ride the momentum of his classmate to take home the second place title for both events. While Germantown Academy was able to finish third in doubles, they struggled equally as much as GFS did in the singles tournament.
Even though GFS students did not excel in the competition, intensity and excitement was still shown throughout the tournament. As participants began arriving at 9 AM, it was clear that they wanted to be there and were looking for that illusive championship trophy.
When asked if they would participate again, the Butler brothers gave a resounding, “Definitely.”