Table tennis tourney holds court

Club celebrates 10th anniversary, and continues to grow.

Jose Trevas, right, winner, and Rae Carter, runner up, at the YMCA table tennis tourney. — Courtesy Bob O'Rourke

The Martha’s Vineyard Table Tennis Club (MVTTC) held its 10th annual tournament this past Saturday at the YMCA in Oak Bluffs, in which Jose Trevis of Edgartown was crowned champion over Vineyard Haven resident Rae Carter by a score of 3 games to 1.

Both players won four matches on their journey to the finals, and it truly came down to the wire, with a score of 11-9 in the fourth game, where Trevis was able to fight through tough competition and pull out the victory. Falling to Trevis and Carter in the semifinals were Brian Walt and Andy Storch. The tournament began with 16 contestants of all ages, who battled it out in a round-robin format where matches were decided via a best-of-three-games format. As the number of players was whittled down, the tourney then shifted to a best-of-five-games format for the final two rounds, upping the intensity so that he or she who prevailed would have to earn it. 

As the only table tennis organization on the Island, MVTTC hosts the tournament every year with hopes of growing the game and publicizing the sport. The club charges no entry fee for registration into their tournaments, and operates as a 501(c)(3), using all of the money from their modest $40 membership fee to buy new equipment and improve the club. Run by officers Bob O’Rourke, Bruce Golden, Albert Lau, and the aforementioned Carter, MVTTC and its 30 members play year-round four days a week at both the YMCA and the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. For several years following the group’s inception, they struggled to find a playing site where they could safely and reliably store their tables, bouncing around between the Island’s schools, and even playing in members’ basements during the earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While many MVTTC members compete at a high level (eight players have a U.S. Table Tennis Association rating, and play in official tournaments off-Island), O’Rourke, the club’s president, considers its main goal to be drawing as many players as possible to the game of table tennis, and invites players of any skill level to play with the club.

Like many other members, O’Rourke sees table tennis not just as an enjoyable form of exercise, but also as a good way to socialize and get to know people through sport. While it can seem difficult at first, O’Rourke encourages new players to “stick with it and improve.” The club has carried out its goal by running a table tennis club at MVRHS, where members organize lessons and competitions among students. Even if not through the school, experienced MVTTC members are always excited to train new players, and they urge anyone interested in the sport to stop by the YMCA on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons, and give table tennis a shot.