The AHS ping-pong club meets every Wednesday after school, with twenty-five to thirty members crowding into chemistry lab 107 at any given session. The club is supervised by science teacher Ms. Zagurski, with junior James Yu and senior Deepu Nair serving as president and vice-president, respectively.
Though the club functions mostly as a stress outlet, they hosted two competitive tournaments last year open to AHS students and teachers. Officers maintain the possibility that further tournaments will be held this year. Most members, however, join the club as a way to relieve the stress of schoolwork and become involved in after-school activities, or play during breaks between their multiple extracurriculars.
“You get to spend time here when you don’t have anything else to do,” said member Eliad Gebrehiwot. “It keeps people busy when they’re waiting for things after school.”
“The club is enjoyable, and it is a really fun thing to do when I’m bored,” added Alay Tedla.
Annandale is the first and only high school in Fairfax County to host a ping-pong club. Though the sport is commonly thought of as less involved or physically demanding than those with competitive teams, such as lacrosse or soccer, it features a level of inclusivity that most athletics lack.
“We’re the only school that provides a ping-pong club,” said sophomore Andres Hurtado. “It gives everyone a chance to play it. You don’t have to be good at it, just have fun.”
Gebrehiwot concurred. “You don’t have to be really strong or really fast to play it. It’s a kind of even playing field.”
The club’s uniqueness and leniency about attendance are a big draw for members, who are only required to pay a fee of five dollars in order to enjoy use of tables, balls, and paddles. The number of people in room 107 every meeting frequently rises and falls as some leave to attend other activities, while others come in to take their places.
“It’s a stress reliever and you get to meet new people. It takes the stress off school and homework and just allows people to have fun,” said Yu.
Member Jonathan Choi expressed his attitude about the club with a big smile and a simple statement about why he attends.
“It’s just…fun,” he said with a grin.