He’s table tennis tough

Junior Chad Curtis serves up a different kind of sport…

Joseph Spencer | Staff Writer

The fans, the uniform and the possibility of getting their names in the news are all major reasons that students play sports in high school. But according to junior Chad Curtis, none of these reasons apply to him. Curtis is a competitive ping pong player; his ambitions as a player started nearly a year ago.

“I started about a year ago,” Curtis said. “My parents got us a table and my brother and I started training from there.”

Although Curtis has only been playing for a year, he said he is still confident in his skills.

“I could beat any average high school player,” Curtis said. “On average, the best of the players from Mason High School that I play will only score about 1 to 2 points [to my 21].”

After beating his classmates for some time, Curtis said he made the switch to competitive tournaments four months ago.

“My first tournament was about four months ago. Since then, I have [played in] two other tournaments,” Curtis said. “Tournaments are very far away. The closest one I have been to was 45 minutes away, while the farthest one was two and a half hours away.”

While these trips may be costly to Curtis and his family due to entrance fees and gas prices, he said he does earn back some reward from participating in them.

“I came in third, first and second in my last three tournaments, [respectively],” Curtis said. “The most I have [won] from one tournament is $70.”

While Curtis has been in the top spots of multiple tournaments and even earned a little money, he also said there is still much room for him to approve.

“There is a rating scale from 0 to 3000 of [quality points],” Curtis said. “A year into competition, I am between a 1500 and 1600.”

While Curtis is rated as an average player according to rankings, he is well above most first-year players, which he said usually have an average ranking around 1000 points. Curtis said he credits his success to the amount of time he puts into the sport.

“I practice one to two hours a day, mostly with my brother,” Curtis said. “I used to have an automatic ping pong ball shooter, like tennis players have, but it broke.”

Curtis said that all of this time practicing has helped him truly discover himself as a player.

“I am a special player because I am able to attack well and defend well,” Curtis said. “At my level, most players are only strong at one or [the other].”

While Curtis may be able to easily beat the players that he faces, he said he wants the rest of the sports world to understand that ping pong is a real sport.

“Ping pong is not a wimpy sport,” said Curtis. “It is not super-physical, but it is still a sport and if you watch us play you will realize it. Compared to other sports I have played, ping pong takes the most skill out of all of them.”